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Smith, Hubbard Madison, 1820 
; -1907. 

Historical sketches of Old 
Vincennes, founded in 1732 




Old Vincennes 







February, 1903 

Copyright, ]902. 
HuBHARD Madison Smith, M. D. 

of IVm. B. "Burford, 


Table of Contents. 


Chapter I. 


First Missions and Settlement of Vinceunes 11 

Chapter II. 

Ciinipaign and Capture of Fort Sackville by George 

Rogers Clark 32 

Chapter III. 

Date of Erection of Fort by Morgan Sieur de Vincennes 

— Fort's Removal — Camp Knox 57 

Chapter IV. 

Establisliment of First Courts — Knox County Named — 
First Court House Built — Town of Vincennes Organ- 
ized— Old Town Hall Built — City Chartered — Its 
Commons Lands — Oflftcers of City 74 

Chapter V. 

Schools: University of Vincennes — St. Gabriel's College 
— St. Rose Academy — Common Schools — Sisters of 
Providence — Parochial 91 

Chapter VI. 

Churches: St. Xavier Catholic — St. John's German Cath- 
olic — Presbj'terian — Methodist Episcopal — Episcopal 
— Baptist — Christian — Cumberland Presbyterian — 
German-Protestant — St. John's Lutheran — St. John's 
Evangelical 117 

Chapter VII. 


Biographical Sketclies: Francois Morgan Sieur de Vin- 
cennes — Colonel George Rogers Clark — Reverend 
Pierre Gibault — Colonel Francis Vigo — Francis Bns- 
seron 142 

Chaptek VIII. 

Biographical Sketches, Continued: Governor William 
Henry Harrison — General Zachary Taylor — John Dnf- 
iield Hay — Nathaniel Ewing — Samuel Judah — Nich- 
olas Smith — Cyrus M. Allen — John Wise — Andrew 
Gardner — L. L. Watson — J. L. Coleman — William 
Burtch — John Law — John Francis Bayard 168 

Chapter IX. 

Societies: Masonic — I. O. O. F. — Knights of Pythias — 
Grand Army of the Republic — Ben-Hur Lodge — Elks 
— Red Men — Catholic Knights — Medical — Bar Associ- 
ation 207 

Chapter X. 

Miscellaneous : The Press — University Library — Catholic 
Church Library — City Library — Banks — Board of 
Trade — Epidemics — Indian Mounds 225 

Chapter XI. 

Governor Harrison's Residence — His Pow-wow with Te- 

cumseh— Battle of Tippecanoe 245 

Chapter XH. 

Clubs : Pastime — Fortnightly — Gibault Reading — Pal- 
ace. Old Houses : American Hotel — Prison — Cotton 
Factory — Bonner Mansion — Park- Wise Mansion . . 258 

Chapter XIH. 

Facts and Legends : Population — First Theatre — The Old 
Ferry — Primeval Conveyances — The "Old Trysting 
Boulder" — "Alice of Old Vincennes" — Addendum. . 273 


Table of Illustrations. 


Hubbard Madison Smith, M. D Frontispiece 

Fort Sackville 08 

Map showing Location of Fort Knox after its removal fi" 

Camp Knox Tl 

Last Territorial Legislative Meeting Hall ~-i 

Old Town Hall 79 

John Badollet 82 

Vincennes University 9(1 

Old St. Xavier Catholic Church 118 

New St. Xavier Catholic Cathedral 125 

Presbyterian Cliurch 127 

Methodist Episcopal Church 132 

General George Rogers Clark 145 

Reverend Pierre Gibault 156 

Colonel Francis Vigo 161 

Governor William Hemy Harrison 169 

General Zachary Taylor 17-1 

Nathaniel Ewing 184 

John Wise 187 

Park-Wise Residence . . 188 

Samuel Judah 190 

Cyrus M. Allen 201 

Samuel Bayard 204 

Old American Hotel 250 

Old Cotton Mill 254 

Governor William Henrv Harrison's Residence 259 


Letter of Introduction. 

The letliargy that lias possessed the people iu regard to the 
incidents connected with the early history of Vinceuues seems to 
have been happily dispelled l)y that superb historical romance en- 
titled, "Alice of Old Vincennes," by the lamented and gifted 
author, Maurice Thompson; and, from general inquiry, a contri- 
l)Ution on the subject, it is presumed, would be acceptable to 
many who take an interest in it. 

No other part of the territory of our vast domain can claim 
gi'cntfr interest than it does, considering the contentions for it. 
and the momentous results that have followed its conquest. Hence, 
believing this to be an opportune time to give the public a suc- 
cinct and as correct a history as is possible with the materials 
known to exist at this late day, I have ventured to assume the 

In dealing with the main subject, collateral matters more or 
less connected have been treated of and statistical information 
given that should be interesting to all Indianians, and more espe- 
cially to Viacennes people. The mists of time have been gradu- 
ally covering from sight and memory many interesting views and 
facts of early years in this region, and, if not rescued now and 
made a matter of record, they will soon Ite lost forever. If, in my 
efforts to winnow from tradition and isolated records I have 
rescued but a few facts and items of interest from oblivion, I 
will consider my task of research not to have been in vain. 

The author appreciates the encouraging words from friends 
in his labor to settle points of doubtful authenticity regarding 
Old Vincennes; and he is especially under obligations to the Hon. 
Charles G. McCord, for facts gleaned from the records of our 
Courts, and Hon. Robert W. Miers, M. C, and^^^^<sC'harles M. 
Staley, of the Engineering Department Unitetf^^tates Army, 
Washington, D. C, for facts in the Government's archives, and to 
the Hon. Jacob P. Dunn, Secretary Indiana Historical Society, 
for data relating to the early settlement of Vincennes, through 
Hon. John K. Gowdy. United States Consul-General, Paris. 
France; and to Mr. Elbridge Gardner, an octogenarian and native 
of Vincennes; Mrs. Elizaljoth Andre, now in her ninety-third year, 
and Mr. Vital r>ouclne. in his ninety-second year of age. 


Vincennes, lud., October, 1902. 


The attempt to give in a snceiiiet maiinei- a truthful liisiory of 
Vincemies from its first settlement has been a difficult one, since 
so few authentic records of facts exist; and any one essaying 
it must rely upon facts gleaned here and there, and from un- 
certain traditions to mal^e a connected whole. This statement 
should not be wondered at, since more than a century and a half 
of time presents itself as the field from which the grains of truth 
must be gathered, often from the chaff of hearsay. Hence, the 
task at the start assumed herculean proportions, and, if mis- 
takes are not made, the gleaner must be considered infallible as 
to opportunities in gathering facts. And, if preconceived opinions 
are antagonized and cherished mythical images be shattered by 
stern and rugged facts, the possessors of them must draw con- 
solation from tlie thouglit that mytlis of traditions are ephenu'ral. 
whih' truths must aliide. 

Preface to Second Edition, 

Having been complimented by tlie exhaustion of the first 
edition of my book in a few weeks, and having frequent calls for 
it for public and private libraries, at the solicitatiou of friends 1 
present the edition now issued, lioping it may meet with like 
public favor. THE AUTHOR. 

Vincenues, lud., February, 19o:5. 

Letter of Dedication. 

To the VinreiniCK IliMnrical Sooirfij: 

Nearly three years ago you were kind and complimentary 
enough to invite me to read a pnper before your body on the 
history of Old Vlncenues. My reply was that I was then not 
familiar enough with the subject to furnisli you any valuable in- 
formation about it, but that I would write a paper on "Vincennes 
and Its People as I Knew Them Fifty Years Ago," which I did; 
and the effort was flatteringly received and published by the local 
press. The commendation given that paper was the inspiration 
for an investigation of the founding of the town, and the result 
has been the production of the present volume, after much 
thought and research. It embraces, I believe, valuable informa- 
tion and incidents not hitherto published in consecutive and 
permanent form suitable for libraries, and which I now take the 
liberty of dedicating to your honorable body. 

Your most obedient co-worker, 


Vincennes, Ind., October, 1902. 


Chapter I. 


The historian in his disposition must be patient of labor, persevering, inflexible in liis love 
of truth and justice, and free from every prejudice. — Musheim. 

VINCENNES is situated on the site of the old 
Che-pe-ko-ke, Piankeshaw Indian village, on the 
east bank of the Wabash river, one hundred and 
fifty-one miles east of St. Louis, Mo. ; one hundred and 
ninety-two miles west from Cincinnati, Ohio ; one hun- 
dred and seventeen miles southwest of Indianapolis, and 
about fifty miles from Evansville, on the Ohio river, 
south, and Terre Haute on the Upper Wabash to the 
north ; being so centrally located between the leading cities 
named, studded with railroads reaching in all directions, 
it occupies an ideal location for a large city in the coming 
near future. 

The site on which Vincennes is situated seems to have 
been a favorite location for the habitation of the human 
race for many hundred years, its beginning reaching far 
back into the distant past, and how many will never be 
known. From the heaps of shells, some even from the 
seashore, and skeletons found in this vicinity, some his- 
torians have suggested that the first race of inhabitants 
here were the Fishers, and the next the Mound Builders, 
as is evidenced by the many mounds in the immediate 
vicinity, and others scattered over a large area in the 
county. Then followed the Red Men, who continued to 



occupy it until dispossessed by the stronger, more 
enlightened Caucasian race. 

Tliis location, being so ideal in character, surrounded 
by beautiful forests, wide-spreading prairies, abounding in 
game, from grouse to buffalo, and dotted over in the 
summer season with its myriads of gorgeous flowers, like 
the stars of the firmauient ; broad savannas bordered by 
the gently flowing crystal waters of the placid Wabash 
river, swarming with the finny tribe, was well calculated 
to ajDpeal strongly to less assthetic tastes than those char- 
acteristic of the higher civilization of the Europeans. But 
it is not the purpose of the author to try t(» solve the 
question of the time of the first occupation of this place 
prehistorically, and by whom, but to seek a solution of 
the questions, when was the first advent of the white race 
to the PiankeshaAv Indian village, Che-pe-ko-ke," and the 
time when Vincennes was founded. 

riic date of the first settlement (»r founding of Vin- 
cennes has been a mooted question for many years, owing 
to the inaccessibility of the earliest records concerning 
the subject, they being located in Paris, France, and the 
number of years intervening since its occurrence. The dis- 
cussions have been numy, often based upon misconceptions 
received from various sources of information, hence tra- 
ditions have been, in many instances, recorded as veritable 
history. Then, in seeking solutions of the problem pre- 
sented, recorded facts must be' relied on as far as they 
exist, as bases, aided by reason and corroborating circum- 
stances germane to the question, and by legitimate infer- 

•■"Meaning Brushwood, in Englisli. 


■ In discussing the first settlement of Vineennes we must 
enter npon it dispassionately and without prejudice pro- 
duced bv preconceived opinions formed on misinformation, 
and statements made should not rest upon the ijjse dixit 
of anv one, but should have for their bases well-authenti- 
cated facts, not traditions. 

"To hold their claim upon the Mississippi vallev the 
French, in 1702, determined to establish some posts along 
the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and M. Juchereau did 
erect a fort at the mouth of the Ohio. Some writers have 
attempted to claim that Vineennes was the site of this 
fort, but the records oppose such a view."* 

In his Memoirs (to the French Government) in 1702 
De Iberville asked possession of the Eiver Ohio, and that 
the Illinois Indians might be colonized. He said; "The 
Illinois, having been removed, I could cause it to be 
occupied bv the ^lascontens and Kickapoos. Verv little 
of these removals occurred as planned, but one tribe of 
the Mascoutens came to the mouth of the River Ohio and 
settled near the fort."f 

After Lamotte Cadillac founded a permanent settle- 
ment at Detroit and about the close of the year 1702 the 
Sieur Juchereau, a Canadian officer, assisted by the mis- 
sionary, Mermct, made an attempt to establish a post on 
the Ohio near the mouth of the river. :{: The contentions 
that Vineennes was the objective point of Sieur Juchereau 
and his Canadian settlers is disproved in many ways, the 
error occurring through early writers in using the name 
of the Wabash for the Ohio river. Judge Law, in his his- 

■W. H. Smith's Hist. Ind.. p. r2. 

t Minn. Hist. Society, Vol. I, pp. 341-3*3. 

: Dillon Hist. Ind., p. 21. 


torical sketch of early Vincennes, made this mistake by 
misinterpreting the letter of I^Tovember 9, 1Y12, written 
by Father Marest, then stationed at Kaskaskia, in which 
he said : "The French, having lately established a fort on 
the River Wabash, demanded a missionary, and Father 
Mermet was sent them."* That this letter referred to the 
Ohio, instead of the Wabash river, will be demonstrated. 
This statement of Law conflicts with the claim of the 
authors claiming 1Y02 as the time that a missionary first 
came to this point with Jucherean. If one had come in 
1Y02, why the request of Marest to send a missionary in 
1712, when it is said Mermet came here ? From the fact 
that up to the middle of the eighteenth century the 
Wabash river was regarded as the main stream and the 
Ohio as its tributary, much confusion follows in describing 
localities. In alluding to this matter of locations of 
Juchereau's posts, established in 1Y02 fat the mouth of 
the Ohio river), Dunn says: "It is unquestionable. 
Its complete history is preserved in contemporary official 
documents. It was abandoned three years after it was es- 
tablished and existed only as a landmark."f 

The Mascoutens and the Prairie Indians, having been 
gathered about the fort of Juchereau, Father Mermet was 
sent to them at the instance of Charlevoix by Father 
Marest, who was in charge of the mission at Kaskaskia. 
He immediately engaged in the work of spreading the 
Gospel among the Indians. The following is Father 
Mermet's statement of his labors: "The way T took was 
to confound, in the presence of the whole tribe, the Char- 

* Law's Hist. Vincennes, p. 12. 

tDunn Ind. Mag. West. Hist., Vol. XII, \). 579. Magazine of Amer. Hist.. 
XXII, p. 143. 


latan, whose Manitoii or Great Spirit which he worshipped 
was a buffalo. After leading him insensibly to the avowal 
that it Avas not a buffalo that he worshipped, but the Mani- 
tou or Spirit which animated all buffaloes, which heals 
the sick and has all power, I asked hiui if all other beasts, 
the bear, for instance, and which some of his nation wor- 
shipped, was not equally inhabited by a 'Manitou,' which 
was under the earth?" "AVithout doubt," said the grand 
medicine chief. "If this is so," said the missionary, "men 
ought to have a Manitou who inhabits them." "Nothing 
more certain," said the medicine man. "Then, ought not 
that to convince you," said the Father, pushing his argu- 
ment, "that you are not very reasonable ? For, if man upon 
the earth is master of all animals, if he kills them, if he 
eats them, does it not follow that the Manitou which 
inhabits him must necessarily have a mastery over all 
other Manitous ? Why, then, do you not make him, instead 
of the Manitou of. the buffalo and bear, your Manitou 
when you are sick?" "This reasoning," says the Father, 
"disconcerted the Charlatan," but, like other good logic in 
the world, I am sorry to add, in his own words, this was 
all the effect it produced.* 

While Father Mermet was at this post, established at 
the mouth of the Ohio river, "a pestilential malady soon 
broke out among the Indians who were settled around it, 
and, notwithstanding the kind offices of the missionary, 
they died in great numbers. Witli the hope of arresting 
tlie progress of the fatal epidemic, the Indians determined 
to make a great sacrifice of dogs. Forty of these animals, 
innocent as they were of the epidemic, to satisfy their 

'Dillon's Hist. Ind., pp. 21,22. 


suspicious Manitou, were immolated and carried on poles 
in solemn procession around the fort. But as tlieir orgies 
were of no avail, the Indians soon moved away from the 
place of mortalitv. Mermet retired to the village of Kas- 
kaskia and Sieur Juchereau abandoned the sickly post."'^ 

This account of the labors of Father Mermet with the 
Mascoutens, given by himself, corresponds with what 
Father Charlevoix said in relation to the former's labors 
with the Mascoutens at the mouth of the Ohio, at Sieur 
Juchereau's post, who made a trip down the Mississippi 
from Ivaskaskia in 1721. He said: ''The labors among 
the Mascoutens met with little success. The Sieur 
Juchereau, a Canadian, had begun a post at the mouth of 
the Ohio, which emptied into the Mississippi, constituting 
the shorter and most convenient communication between 
Canada and Louisiana, and a great many of the Indians 
had settled here. To retain them he had persuaded 
Father Mermet, one of the Illinois missionaries, to 
endeavor to gain them for Christ, but the missionary 
found an indocile tribe, exceedingly superstitious, and 
despotically ruled by medicine men."f 

The testimony given by this distinguished and well- 
informed Father, independent of any other authenticated 
evidence, ought to be considered enough to give a quietus 
to the misstatements in relation to the alleged settlement 
that Sieur Juchereau established a mission or builded a 
fort on the site of Yincennes in 1702. 

In ascertaining the time when Vincennes was founded 
the confusion existing' in relation to the names of the two 

* Charlevoix Letter, Ed. VI. 333, Charlevoix TII-30: Dillon's Hist. Ind., pp. 


t Shea's Charlevoix, \o\. \, p. l.!3. 


rivers referred to also obtains as to the words, '^St. Yin 
cent" and ^'Vincennes/' the first being the name of an 
individnal and the second being only a title inherited from 
the Bissot family. 

The fief of Vincennes was established in 1672. The 
Sienr de Vincennes, who died in 1719, was Jean Baptiste 
Bissot, the son of the first holder of the fief. * * * 
Lonisa Bissot (danghter) married Seraphim Morgane do 
la Valtrie. and her son Francois Morgane (he dropped the 
e final in writing his name) was the founder of Post Vin- 
cennes. -" * * Sienr de Vincennes must not be con- 
founded with the members of the St. Vincent family, of 
whom there were two or three in the French service in the 

Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sienr de Vincennes, died about the 
year 1717 and his nephew, Pierre (Francois) Morgan, son 
of Louisa Bissot, who obtained an ensign's commission in 
1709, assumed the style of Sienr de Vincennes, and 
retained much of his uncle's influence in the West. He 
was sent to the present Indiana to control the Miamis. He 
erected a post known as Ouiatenon, and about 1735 an- 
other on the Wabash, which took his name — Vincennes. f 

Tt will be observed that the date, 1717. in the foregoing 
differs by two years from all other writers as to the time 
of the death of Jean Baptiste Bissot, and differs as to the 
time Vincennes founded the post that took his name, mak- 
ing it 1735, when Vincennes' letters from this place, known 
to exist, are dated as early as March, 1733, and from the 
tenor of them he must have been at the post at least as 

'■■Dnnn ITist. Ind., p. 4'.i. 

tShcn, " The Hoosier Stnte." in the Cathnlic Xcws, September 10, ISOO. 


early as 1Y32, as he speaks of the fort and buildings hav- 
ing lately been erected by himself. 

Eoy, in Memories de la Societie Koyal dii C. Canada, 
Section 1, 1892, p. 39, has this to say: "Jean Baptiste 
adopted the military service as a profession and illustrated 
the name Bissot de Vincennes. He was the founder of the 
Post Ouiatenon. In 1736 he died, burned by the 
Chicachas (ChickasaAvs). The name of the capital of Indi- 
ana, Vincennes, is borrowed from that officer."* 

This statement is in contradiction of almost all writers 
on the subject. Jean Baptiste Bissot died at the Miami's 
post in 1Y19, and was not burned at the stake in Louisiana, 
but his nephew, Francois JMorgan, Sioiir de Vincennes, 
did suffer so in 1Y36 in company with liis commander, 
Diron de Artaguette, Father Senat and other prisoners 
captured in battle by the Chickasaw Indians. 

Having discredited the claim that tliis site was occupied 
by Europeans in 1702 by the testimony of Law's History, 
page 15, where he said: "Records of the Catholic Church 
here make no mention of a missionary until the year 1749, 
when Father Meurin came here," and having the testi- 
mony of divers authorities that Sieur Juchereau erected 
his fort at the mouth of the Ohio river, instead of the 
Vincennes site, and that the Missionary Mermet's labors 
were at the mouth of the Ohio river, I will try to show 
the time when the Indian village Che-pe-ko-ke was first 
occupied by Europeans. 

The Chronological History of the TTnited States says: 
"1732 — Vincennes founds Vincennes, the first European 
settlement in Indiana. "f Taking this statement as the 

-Edmund Mallet, Ind. H. Soc. p. 5fi. 

t Robert .Tamep Bclford, in the N. Y. AVorld's Cliro. Hist. U. S.. p. fiO. 


central point of consideration on the question of the time 
as to when Vincennes was first settled, the testimony lead- 
ing to its establishment will be next presented. 

In relation to the early history of alleged missions and 
forts established here, I quote from the Western Annals, 
a book published in 1S51 at St. Louis. The author says: 
"Charlevoix, who records the death of Vincennes in 1736, 
makes no mention of any post on the Wabash, or any mis- 
sion there ; neither does he mark any upon his map, 
although he gives even the British fort upon the Tennes- 
see and elsewhere."* -^ * * Vivier, in his letters of 
1750, writing from "Aux Illinoix" and Fort Chartres, 
says nothing of any mission on the Wabash, although 
writing in respect to Western missions, and speaks of the 
necessity of a fort upon the Ouabache. How natural to 
refer to the post at Vincennes if one existed. In a volume 
of Memoirs on Louisiana, compiled from tlie minutes af 
M. Dumont, and published in Paris in 1753, but probably 
prepared in 1749, though we have an account of the 
Wabash, or St. Jerome, as it was called, its rise and course 
and the use made of it by the traders, not a word is found 
touching any fort, settlement or station on it.f Vandriel, 
when Governor of Louisiana, in 1751, mentioned even 
then no post on the Wabash, although he speaks of a need 
of a post on the Ohio near to where Fort Massac was 
built afterwards, and names Fort Miami on the Maumee. 

Mr. Justin Windsor, Librarian of Harvard ITniversity, 
one of the late investigators of the settlement of the 
Wabash, says: "The Mississippi Company (a. company of 

'"A French .Jesuit priest, historian and missionary to Canada, who explored 
the western country and the Mississippi river to its mouth. He arrived in Amer- 
ica at St. .Joseph, Mich., a trading post, August 8, 1721. 

t^Memories Historique Sur Jjouisiana, etc., 1753-Paris. 


traders in pelfry) had urged, September 15, 1Y20, the 
building of a fort on the Wabash as a safeguard against 
tlie English, and the need of it had attracted the attention 
of Charlevoix. Some such precaution, indeed, was quite 
necessary to overcome the savages, for now tlie Wabash- 
Maumee portage was coming into favor, the Indians had 
been prowling about it and murdering the passers. 

"In 1724 La Harpe feared the danger of delay. In 
1725 the necessity for some such protection alarmed Bois- 
briant early in the year. * * * As a result, we find 
the Company of the Indies, December, 1725, instructing 
Boisbriant to beware of the English, and to let M. de Vin- 
cennes, then among the Miamis (who were then included 
in the Canadian provinces, and their principal settlement 
was at Green Bay, Wis.), know that the rivals were com- 
ing in that direction. The next year the company informed 
Perier (Septendier 30, 1726) of their determination to be 
prepared, and authorized him to concert with Vincennes to 
repel the English if they approached."* 

Smith says: "There is no correct record of when the 
post of Vincennes was established, but it was probably in 
1727. In that year Vincennes and his faithful lieutenant, 
St. Ange, were at Kaskaskia. * * *"f- 

The journal of La Ilarpe, giving fnll particulars of the 
occurrences in Illinois and Ouiatenon countries from 1698 
to 1722, makes no mention of any post at, Vincennes." 

General Ilarmar, who visited the post in 17^7, in a let- 
ter to the Secretary of War, says: "I have been informed 
by the inhabitants that Vincennes had established a post 
sixty years before. That would place it at 1727. "" * * 

■The Miss. Basin, p. 14S. 

t AV. H. Smith's Hist. Ind., p. 18. 


In the siuimier of 1726 the directors learned tliat their 
post was not yet established. "' ^ " Efforts had been 
made frequently by this trading company to have a post 
established at this point and had held out pecuniary induce- 
ment to that end, but had so far failed." 

"On the Wabash, near the present site of Vincennes, 
was an important Indian village, known as Chip-kaw-kay, 
and it is probable that when the French settlers arrived 
they heard stories of prior visits made by traders, and 
after a lapse of time those traditions became transposed 
i.nto facts relating to the first actual settlement. To hold 
their claim upon the Mississippi valley the French, in 
1702, determined to establish some posts along the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers, and M. Juchereau did erect a fort 
iit tie moiith of the Ohio." 

1 his same author says, on page 18 of his said work: 
''One of the best evidences that it (a post) was not estab- 
lished in an earlier year, to which the date (1727) has 
been assigned, lies in the fact that all persons concede that 
it was established by Francois Morgan, Sieur de Vin- 
cennes. He did not succeed to the title until late in the 
year 1719. He was a son of the sister of the elder Sieur de 
Vincennes, and succeeded to the title on the death of his 
uncle, which took place at " " * the Indian village 
on the Maumee. It is very possible that French traders 
had visited the Indian village of Chip-kaw-kay many years 
previously, but the fact is apparent that no settlement was 
made or post established before 1727. Some eight years 
later a number of French families settled there, and it be- 
came the first actual settlement in the State. It was called, 

'Dunn Hist.Ind., p. 53. 


in the first record, 'The Post/ 'Old Post/ 'Au Poste/ and 
remained the only settlement of whites in the State until 
after the Revolutionary war, although a military fort was 
maintained both at the head of the Maumee and at Ouiate- 
non by the French until the country was ceded to Great 

In a Memoir of M. de St. Denis, Commandant, dated 
Natchitoches, ISTovember 30, 1Y31, he says: "On the 
Ouabache, which has always been neglected, on which, in 
my opinion, by the information I have had, we should be 
the first to form an establishment, for, by report, it is a 
key to the English, by which they would be better able to 
get hold of the Province of Louisiana than any other place 
and to entice away some of our tribes. I would advance 
the number needed there, so to speak, to four hundred 
men rather than three."-]- 

This statement shows that up to this date there was no 
"Post" then established at this point on the Ouabache, 
that is, up to JSTovember 30, 1731, and if no post, no mis- 
sion, as they could not exist without protection. 

In Law's History, touching this officer's movements: 
"Vincennes," he says, "was in the service of the Governor 
of Canada as late as 1725. At what time he took posses- 
sion here is not exactly known ; probably somewhere 
about 1732. ":{: He alludes to a sale recorded at Kaskas- 
kia, January 5, 1735, and says the document styles him 
"an officer of the troops of the King," and ^^ Commandant 
au poste du Ouabache,'' and he says further, the will of 
Monsieur Philip Longprie, his father-in-law, dated March 

•■'Smith's Hist. Ind., p. 12. 
t Ind. Hist. Society, p. 296. 
+ Law's Hist. Ind., p. 19. 


10, 1735, gives him, among other things, eight hundred 
and eight pounds of pork, which he wishes kept safe until 
the arrival of Monsieur Vineennes, who was then at the 
post. There are other documents there signed by him as 
a witness in 1733-4, among them one receipt for one 
hundred pistoles, received from his father-in-law on his 
marriage. From all these proofs I think it evident that 
he was here previous to 1733. 

The late Orlan F. Baker, in his article on the "'History 
of- Knox County," says, in reference to the French com- 
mander, Francois Morgan de Vineennes: ''For gallant 
conduct at this siege (Detroit) De Vineennes was restored 
to a rank forfeited by a previous disobedience of orders in 
Europe and promoted to a command for the King in Illi- 
nois, and sent by M. de Vandrial, Governor of Canada, to 
Sault Ste. Marie, at which place and Machilamackinac he 
remained until 1732, when under the orders of Longen- 
ville, for the King, he repaired to the command of the 
'Post des Ouabache.' 

"The Ouiatenon settlement was now broken up, and 
the inhabitants removed to the poste."* 

The foregoing corroborates the inference of Law as to 
the advent of Vineennes to this place, and doubtless from 
the period of his arrival, 1732, may be taken as the time 
of the beginning of the settlement or founding of Vin- 

To settle the question, inference lends its aid while con- 
sidering collateral subjects. 

Count Volney, who visited America and was in Vin- 
eennes in 1796, says : "From the best information I 

'■■' Hist. Knox County, \i. 26. 


could obtain from tlie inhabitants; I judged the first 
settlement was not much earlier than 1757, but giving the 
benefit to the traditions of some of the oldest inhabitants, 
the time might be as early as 1735."'^ 

That a Jesuit missionary may have been here a few 
years preceding the advent of Morgan de Vincennes is not 
unlikely, for in December, 1726, there departed nine 
Jesuit priests from France for New Orleans, where there 
were others, making in all twenty-one, to be distributed, by 
the order of the Bishop of Quebec, in the Province of 
Louisiana. In this distribution we find that the Jesuit 
Father, Pierre D'Outreleau, was assigned to the Oua- 
bache, 1728, and this is the first mention of a priest being 
sent to the Ouabache (except that of Pierre Mermet, who 
was with Sieur Juchereau, who was in fact not here, but 
at the mouth of the Ohio, then called Ouabache, near the 
site of Cairo, among the Mascouten Indians). The 
Father's place of residence is not definitely known. It 
might have been among the Indians on the Upper Wa- 
bash, at Kaskaskia or at the mouth of the Ohio, until his 
appearance again at New Orleans, to which place he had 
started and came near losing his life on the way by the 
Indians in 1730. f 

The first advent of an itinerant missionary or erratic 
traders could not in a correct sense be called a set- 
tlement, even if the Father and some traders had 
been here previous to 1732, and it has been shown no post 
had been established here prior to that date. Then it 
becomes necessary to indicate a period to which a settle- 
ment might be reasonably ascribed. 

"Law's Hist, of Vincennes, p. 12; History Knox County, 236. 
tDunn Ind. Hist. Society, p. 274; from Sister Madeline Hachard's Journal, 
New Orleans. 


The arrival of F. Morgan de Viiicenaes and tlie trans- 
ference of the colonists from Ouiatenon (near Lafayette) 
to the Che-pe-ko-ke village in 1732, may be taken as the 
time of the beginning of the settlement of this "'post," 
and the subsequent marriage of Commander Vincennes to 
a French lady, daughter of Philip Longprie, at Kaskaskia, 
in 1733, but emphasized and gave impetus to the settle- 
ment when he brought his bride to the new nucleus of 
civilization. Post Ouabache. That the French people of 
the Indian village so understood that time as the begin- 
ning of the Caucasian settlement, finds corroboration in a 
report made to the civil officers of the United States Gov- 
ernment in 1790. When Winfield Sargent, Secretary for 
the Territories northwest of the Ohio river, was sent here 
to organize a county (which he called Knox) he found 
much of the land adjacent was claimed by the villagers, 
and so reported to the Washington Government, where- 
upon he was requested by the same to ascertain of them 
upon what authority they based their rights. A commit- 
tee of the leading settlers answered, in part, as follows in 
their report: "'We beg leave to inform you that their prin- 
cipal reason is, that since the establishment of the country 
the Commandants have always appeared to be vested with 
the jiower to give lands ; their founder, M. Vincennes, 
began to give concessions, and all his successors have given 
lots and lands." Signed, "F. Busseron, L. E. Delisle, 
Pierre Gamelon, Pierre Querez, July 3, 1790."" In this 
report it is seen that the French villagers claimed that 
F. Morgan de Vincennes was the founder of this settle- 
ment or post. This declaration indicates the commence- 
ment of the French settlement of Vincennes, according to 

"'Letter to Winthrop Sargent: Hist. Knox County, p. 124. 


tlie views of the people themselves ; and, hence, the conclu- 
sions, from all the evidence adduced, that the settlement of 
Vincennes cannot be rightfully placed at an earlier date 
than 1732. 

Since the foregoing was written the President of the 
Vincennes University received photographic copies of two 
letters from the Honorable Jacob P. Dunn, Secretary of 
the Indiana Historical Society, written by the founder of 
Vincennes, dated respectively March 7 and 21, 1733, and 
procured for that society from the French archives by 
Consul-General J. K. Gowdy, at Paris. These letters are 
timely, as there is an awakening of Indianians about their 
colonial historj^, and they add to our scant stock of reliable 
knowledge on the subject. While these letters do not fur- 
nish the exact date of the settlement of Vincennes, they 
come so close to it that they aid us in forming reasonable 
conclusions about it. The information gained through the 
letter of March 7* settles the question of when the first 
fort was built and by whom it was done, and is as follows: 

"March 7, 1733 — Monsieur: To make reply to the 
honor of yours, I will commence by informing you that 
the Ouabache nation is composed of five tribes, which 
includes four villages, of which the least is of sixty men 
bearing arms, and in all about 600 or 700 men, whom it 
will be necessary for the good of the service to gather 
together and remove from proximity to the English. It 
has been impossible for me to bring together all these 
tribes because I have always lacked merchandise in this 
place. ■ The fort which I have had built is 400 leagues up 
the Ouabache, above the rivers by which the English will 

•■'■ Addressed probably to the Governor at Detroit, as no address heads the let- 
ter. Ind. Historic Transactions, p. 304. 


be able to descend and open trade with these tribes. The 
place is well htted for the location of a large establish- 
ment, which I would have made if I had had the troops. 
In regard to the trade which can be had, it is in furs. It 
is possible to send out from this post every year about 
30,000 skins. That, monsieur, is all the trade that can be 
secured for the present. 

"There has never been so great need of troops at this 
place as at present. The Indians, . Illinois as well as 
Miamis and others, are more insolent than they have ever 
been, and that since the Foxes have been overthrown. The 
little experience I have acquired in the twenty years I 
have been with them makes me fear some bad return from 
these nations, especially mine, which sees an establishment 
that I have begun and which there has appeared no desire 
to continue in the past three years. The only thing that 
can come in the meantime, monsieur, is the loss to us of 
all the tribes, both of the lakes and of other places. 

"You have done me the honor to ask me to send you a 
statement of the works finished and to be constructed. 
There is only a fort and two houses in it, and there should 
at once be built a guard-room with barracks for lodging 
the soldiers. It is not possible to remain in this place with 
so few troops. I will need thirty men with an officer. I 
am more embarrassed than ever in this place by the war 
with the (^hickasaws, who have come here twice since 
spring. It is only twelve days since the last party brought 
in three persons, and as it is the French who have put the 
tomahawk in their hands, I am obliged to be at expense 
continually. I hope of your kindness that you will give 
special attention to this place and to the trouble which I 


experience, as well for myself as for the little garrison that 
I have. It is a favor expected of you by him who has the 
honor to be with profound respect, monsieur, your very 
humble and obedient servant, 

"Of the Eort of the Ouabache, this 21st day of March, 

M. de Vincennes speaks of "the fort I have built," etc. 
Again he says : "Monsieur, you asked me to send you a 
statement of the amount of the work finished and to be 
constructed. There is only a fort and two houses in it, 
and there should at once be built a guard-room, with a 
barracks for lodging the soldiers. It is not possible to 
remain in this place with so few troops. I will need thirty 
men with an officer." This statement indicates that he 
had been at this point not exceeding a year, and that he 
felt insecure, although he had a fort ; then how could it be 
reasonably supposed that a mission had existed there 
previously, as the work commenced had not been com- 
pleted ? In the letter he alludes to the time of his service 
against the Indians, which serves, indirectly, to fix the 
time of his advent in Che-pe-ko-ke village. He says : "The 
little experience I have acquired in the twenty years I 
have been with them, makes me fear some bad returns from 
these natives," etc. He speaks of his small force, and 
says: "The Chickasaws are menacing me, having been to 
the post twice since spring." All of which goes to show 
that he had not fully established himself and felt insecure 
in March, 1733, and had been there only a short time. It 
is stated that in May, 1712, at the instigation of the 
English interests in ISTew York, a desperate attempt was 


made to destroy the fort near Detroit. Two villages of 
the Mascoutens and Ono-atagniers had been established and 
fortified within a pistol shot of the French garrison. The 
Indians had determined to annihilate the posts and called 
to aid two large bands to help them. On the 13th of May, 
1712, Erancois Morgan de Vincennes arrived with seven 
or eight Frenchmen. That night a Huron came into the 
fort and announced that the Potawattomie war chief 
desired to connsel with the French, and wonld meet them 
at the old Ilnron fort. Vincennes went over and was told 
that six hundred men from the villages upon the St. 
Jerome (Wabash) wonld soon arrive and help the garrison. 
Upon Vincennes' return Duboison, the Commander, at 
once closed the fort and prepared for a siege. The next 
day Duboison ascended a bastion and casting his eye 
toward the woods, saw the army of the natives of the 
south issuino- froui it. They were the Illinois, Missouris, 
Osages and other natives yet more remote. The battle 
began at once, etc., resulting in a victory for the French 
and their allies." This quotation is introduced to show 
the time ^l. de Vincennes arrived in Detroit. Xow, bear 
in mind the statement, in his letter of March 7, 1733, 
when he speaks of his dealing with the Indians twenty 
years; and, adding that number of years to the year of his 
arrival in Detroit, 1712. and we have the year 1735 as 
the time of his advent here. 

The French King decided to establish two posts in 1731 
— one at Illinois and one "at the Ouabache," "to com- 
mence Tulv 1, 1731."|- Let it be remembered that Com- 
mander M. de St. Denis, Commandant at T^atchitoches, 

"•'Duboison's Diary, 11. 2. 

t Inrl. Hist. Society Pulilications, v. 297 (1902) 


as late as November 30, 1Y31, deplored the fact that no 
establishment had been erected np to that time on the 
Onabache, and the only evidence to show that a post was 
commenced that year is the half-yearly allowance made to 
the officers from Jnly 1 of that year (1731). Erom the 
time the edict was issued to the time the same wonld reach 
M. de Vincennes, would be probably six months, and then 
the year 1732 would have been ushered in, but the officers 
would rightfully draw half-pay for that year, which they 
did. The allowance for salaries for one-half a year is not 
positive evidence that Vincennes arrived here in 1731. 
The presumption is that his orders did not arrive before 
January 1, 1732. In 1732 the first full year's salary was 
allowed. Taking into consideration the fact of the little 
work done on the fort and buildings up to March, 1733, as 
given in the late published letters of Vincennes in connec- 
tion with the one given by St. Denis (that no fort had been 
established in 1731), just stated, the legitiuiate conclusion 
to be drawn from them is that the year 1732 is the earliest 
date of the founding of Vincennes. 

The foregoing facts and arguments set forth about the 
first European settlement in Indiana ought to be consid- 
ered sufficient proof as to the period Vincennes was first 
settled. The French government occupied the country 
until Canada and the ISTorthwest Territory wore ceded to. 
Great Britain at the conclusion of their war, 1763, when 
it became a bone of contention between the latter govern- 
ment and the federal colonies of ISTorth America. It 
proved to be a point rich in splendid results, and a prize 
worthy of the most astute diplomacy and consummate 
strategy and prowess in warfare, and the contention for it 


eulminated, finally, on February 25, ITYO, when it passed 
under the control of the State of Virginia, through the 
agency of Colonel George Rogers Clark, whose skill and 
daring had not been surpassed by any military officer in 
American history. The subject is full of interesting inci- 
dents, but to enter upon a more elaborate history would 
require the presentation of more facts and statistics than 
would be profitable or interesting to the casual inquirer. 
Francois Morgan de Vincennes, military commander, 
having taken possession of Che-pe-ko-ke late in lYSl, or 
early in 1732^ a stockade and two houses were built for 
defenses against the attack of the Indians, and as a protec- 
tion to the traders. He remained in command here until 
1736, when he was ordered by the French Governor of 
Detroit to join M. D'Artegette in his campaign against the 
Chickasaw N'ation with a force to be sent from ISTew 
Orleans; but owing to misha]>s, the forces did not form 
a junction, according to instructions, and the commander 
made the attack with his own troops and was defeated, 
captured and burned. For his heroism in the battle he, it 
Avas said, was sainted by his church, and the post chris- 
tened "Post St. Vincennes," and was so called until the 
simple name of Vincennes was adopted. About the year 
1749, the fort's name became that of Fort St. Ange, 
in honor of the successor of Vincennes in command of the 
post, he having, it is said, improved the church and placed 
on it a belfry and bell. 

Chapter II. 


been sent out by Governor Patrick Henry, of Vir- 
ginia, with a small army of Virginia and Kentucky 
volunteers, to capture the outposts of Great Britain in this 
part of the Northwest Territory, and having succeeded in 
capturing Kaskaskia, on the Kaskaskia river, her greatest 
stronghold in 1778, mostly by boldness and strategy, he 
conceived the idea of making a dash for the seizure of 
Vincennes, having learned of its weak condition and the 
friendliness of the citizens of the village through a resi- 
dent priest of Kaskaskia. To this end he sent there Father 
Pierre Gibault, the priest, an intelligent gentleman, wlu»iii 
he had found to be friendly to America, to ascertain the 
obstacles to be overcome in the accomplishment of the 
scheme. The priest assured him that although secular 
matters did not pertain to his calling, yet if the Colonel 
would commit the whole matter to him, there need be no 
further uneasiness, for he might give them such spiritual 
advice as w^ould do the lousiness. Accordingly, on July 11. 
1778, Father Gibault. with Dr. LaFonte, Civil Magistrate ; 
Captain Leonard TTelm, representing tlie military, and 
Moses Henry, Interpreter and Envoy, were sent to Vin- 
cennes, and the peaceful reduction of the fort was under- 
taken. Fort Sackville was then garrisoned by the militia 
under St. Maria Racine. Governor Abbott had gone to 



Detroit the month before to assure the militarv officer 
there that the rumored demonstrations from the Ohio i)or- 
der must prove futile. 

The commissioners of Chirk, having arrived at tlie vil- 
lage, and commnnicated with the traders and citizens, a 
meeting was called at the church, the time seeming pro- 
pitious for a. covp dieted, and on the 6th of August Francis 
Busseron, the Mayor, to whom the priest had imparted an 
account of what had occurred in Illinois, and the purpose 
of the visit to Vincennes, arose in the church, at the close 
of the services, and in the presence of the detained audi- 
ence, interrogated the holy Father so skillfully concerning 
the power of the arms of Virginia and the justice of the 
cause of the colonies against England that all the assembly 
were at once inclined to make friends with the new power. 
"Then," said Busseron, "why delay? Let us show him 
that we are his friends, and if Virginia will receive us, let 
us become her subjects."* LaFonte said that he was au- 
thorized to accept their allegiance and to pledge them the 
whole power of the Confederate Colonies to protect them. 
Without a word more, a roll of citizenship was displayed 
and each adult, attaching his name in America's Doom's 
Day Book, * * * repeated after the priest a vow 
of fidelity to republican institutions. ^ ^ ^ Tl^ie 
assembly with great joy, after electing Captain Helm to 
command, with drum and instruments of music, marched 
to the fort and received from the wily commander the 
master keys. In a few hours after the glittering stars 
and blazing stripes climbed the bastion of Sackville and 
floated out in the summer air to the astonishment of the 

Busseron was commissione<l Csiptain by Clark, Augu^^tTi. 1778. 


Indians, who were told tlieir Old Father, the French King, 
had come to life again.* 

Judge Lasselle, a citizen of Logansport, Indiana, has in 
his possession Captain Busseron's account book, which fur- 
nishes hitherto unpublished matter in relation to accounts 
against Captain Leonard Helm. Captain Busseron was 
authorized by him to organize a military company. So we 
find a jjart of the record runs : 

"!N"ovember 4, 1778 — For haying raised the company, 

500 (presumably francs). 
"IsTovember 12, 1778— Paid to St. Maria for 5 ells of 

red serge for the flag, 5. 
Paid to Mr, Dagenet for 3^ ells 

of green serge at 10-37-10. 
Paid Madam Godare for mak- 
ing flag, 25." 

Judge Lasselle adds: "^Trom these entries we can 
obtain almost a full and precise description of the flag. It 
consisted of two stripes, one of red and the other of green ; 
the extra link of the red stripe of one and three-fourths 
ells. The French ell being forty inches in length, and 
taken off to form the shield in its proper place, left the 
flag about eleven feet in length. * * * It was a 
famoiTS flag for reason that it was the first American flag 
in all that vast extent of territory of the present United 
States, extending westward from the Blue Pidge moun- 
tains in Virginia to the Pacific ocean." 

This is the flag around which Maurice Thompson has 
woven the thrilling incidents pictured in his popular 

' Hist. Knox County, p. 4. 


Thus, it will be observed, without the firing of a gun, 
through strategy, Fort Sackville was delivered bv its 
militia officer, St. Maria Racine, into the hands of Captain 
Leonard Helm, and the interpreter, Henrv. The Indians, 
who were the friends of the English, immediately sent 
runners to Detroit to inform the British commander there 
of the result at Post Vincennes, and preparations were 
commenced to retake the fort and village ; to this end 
Langlade was dispatched to assemble the Indians near the 
village, while Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton prepared a 
fleet to take through the lakes to the head of the Wabash 
river; and early in October he and Major Hay, with 
eighty-four soldiers and one hundred Indians, started to 
recapture Yincennes and destroy Clark's forces at Kas- 
kaskia. Captain Helm, fearing that he could not be rein- 
forced at an early day and suspicioning that a Detroit 
force might be sent against him, sent out a spy to keep him 
advised of any approaching danger, but his messenger was 
captured and killed and all his papers seized; thus the flo- 
tilla of Hamilton and his army from Detroit arrived 
within tliree miles of tlie village l)efore it was discovered. 
Captain Helm and his interpreter, Henry, were the sole 
occupants of the fort when its surrender was demanded by 
Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton, the native militia failing 
to sup]»ort Captain Holm. He stood by one of the can- 
nons, it is said, with torch in hand, ready to fire it, and 
thus answered Hamilton: "Bv Heavens, no man enters 
here until I know the terms." jLjLt3*3v5oU 

"You shall have the honors of war," responded Hamil- 
ton, and then, as the British army, at parade rest, saluted 
the lowering of the flag, the officer with his conmiand of 


one man, with military precision, marched ont of the forti- 
fications.* Thns again. Fort Sackville, withont bloodshed, 
passed nnder the sway of Great Britain, bnt not long- to 
remain so. The re-establishment of the English with 
increased forces and Indian allies all around the post, 
Clark's situation at Kaskaskia became critical, if not really 
untenable, and Hamilton conceived the idea of capturing 
him by surprise. He sent out scouts for that purpose, but 
the winter was so inclement and traveling so bad, they 
failed to get to Kaskaskia. In the meantime Clark was 
concocting a scheme to surprise and take Hamilton and his 
forces. Although the time of enlistment of many of his 
soldiers had expired, and their places were to be filled with 
ihe new citizens from conquest, he determined to send an 
envoy to Vincennes to learn the temper of the people 
there, the probable number of Hamilton's force, the 
strength of the defenses to be overcome, and then take his 
chances for victory. After retaking the fort at Post Vin- 
cennes, it is somewhat remarkable that Hamilton did not 
follow up his success by pushing on to Kaskaskia and 
engaging his opponent, whose strength had been weakened 
by the expiration of the enlistments of the bulk of his 
soldiers, and before his little army could be recruited and 
reorganized and reinforcements could arrive, promised by 
the Governor of Virginia. 

The presumption is that the British commander felt so 
secure in his quarters during the very severe winter, then 
at its worst, and so sure that no successful campaign could 
be waged against him by Clark's little army at that time of 
flood and ice, he could afFord to wait until s]iriiig before 

'■' Ilist. Knox County, p- 43. 


entering upon his campaign against Kaskaskia. The result 
then, in his estimation, being an inevitable success, as he 
could be reinforced by that time with several hundred 
Indian warriors. As pride and over-confidence often go 
before their fall, this fateful and imagined security proved 
disastrous to him and his army ere the flowers began to 
bloom and the birds began to sing to cheer his army on in 
their anticipated triumphant spring campaign. 

Colonel Clark's indomitable will, forceful mind and 
resourceful ingenuity to meet emergencies was pnt to the 
severest test in devising ways and means to thwart the 
schemes of his more powerfid adversary and gain success 
himself. Great commanders are not made, but born so. 
What would have appeared insurmountable obstacles to 
some men, to him were not beyond attainment. So with 
firm resolve, stout heart and optimistic mind, he com- 
menced evolving a scheme, the beginning of which would 
be to learn, authoritatively, from Vincennes what he 
would have to encounter to have his efforts crowned with 
victory. In order to accomplish this, he says, in a letter 
to his friend, Mr. George Mason: "I sent oft' a horseman 
to St. Vincent to take a prisoner, if possible, by Avhich we 
might get information, but found it impossible on account 
of high water ; but, in the height of our anxiety, on the 
evening of the 29tli of January (1779) Mr. Francis Vigo, 
a Spanish merchant, arrived from St. Vincent, who was 
there at the time it was taken by Hamilton, and he gave me 
every intelligence I wished." The name of this good 
friend of the American cause should ever be held in grate- 
ful remembrance for his patriotism and generous deeds in 
advancing to Colonel Clark funds and helping to keep the 


colonial scrip at par. He was rich and spent his fortune 
to advance and maintain American credit and supremacy. 
The name of C^olonel Francis Vigo is well worthy to be 
embalmed in the memory of the citizens of Vincennes with 
the heroes, General George Rogers Clark and M. Pierre 

He said: ''The Governor's party consisted of about 
800 men when he took possession of the post, on the 17th 
of December last. Finding the season too far spent for 
his intention against Kaskaskia, he had sent nearly the 
whole of the Indians out to different parts to war, but to 
embody as soon as the weather would permit, and he could 
complete the design."'" Having the information he desired. 
Colonel Clark quickly proceeded to organize as large a 
force as possible, drawing from several adjacent recruiting 
stations. His plan was to send a portion of his force by 
boat, with provisions and war equipments and artillery 
taken from the fortifications at Kaskaskia, down the Mis- 
sissippi river to the Ohio, and thence up the Ohio to the 
Wabash, up the latter river to within nine miles of Post 
St. Vincent, where a junction was to be made with the 
land forces under his command, as he would go directly 
across the country to that point. On the 3rd of February, 
1779, Colonel Clark wrote to the Governor of Virginia, 
explaining his situation and lack of reinforcements prom- 
ised, being sensible of his peril without them, which, at 
that time, he hardly had a right to expect, and added: "I 
shall be obliged to give the country to Hamilton without 
a turn of fortune in my favor. I am resolved to take 
advantage of his present situation and risk the whole on 

"Colonel Vigo's report to Colonel Clark. 


a single battle. I shall set <>iit in a few days with all the 
force I can raise of my own troops, and the few militia 
that I can depend npon, anuninting to only one hundred 
and seventy men, sonie of which go on board the small 
galley. '" " "" I shall march across the land myself 
with the rest of the boys. The principal persons that fol- 
low me on this forlorn hope are Captain Joseph Bowman, 
John Williams, Edward Worthington, Richard McCarty 
and Francis Charleville, Lieutenant Brashear, Abraham 
Keller, Abraham (Jiaplin, John Bailey and several other 
brave subalterns. ■"'■ "' "' I know^ the cause is desper- 
ate, but, sir, we must either quit the country or attack 
Llamilton. [NTo time is to be lost. Were I sure of rein- 
forcements, I would not attempt it now. Who knows what 
fortune will do for us ? Great things have been effected 
l)y a few men well conducted. Perhaps we may be fortu- 
nate. We have this consolation, that our cause is just, and 
that our country will be grateful and not condemn our 
conduct in case we fall through ; if so, this country, as 
well as Kentucky, I believe, is lost."* 

Hoping almost •without the least foundation for a hope 
to rest upon, knowing that Hamilton's force exceeded his 
by four to one, and that the enemy would be behind de- 
fenses w^ell equipped, Colonel Clark, with his little, but 
heroic band, set out for Post St. Vincent, February 5, 
1779, saying he would '^conquer or die." In his letter to 
a friend and patron, George Mason, of Virginia, he wrote: 
"I had a large boat prepared and rigged, mounting ten 
four-pounders and four large swivels, manned with a fine 
company of forty-five men, commanded by Lieutenant 

■•■■Colonel Clark's letter to the (iovernor of Virginia. 


Kogei's. She set out the evening of the -ith of February, 
with orders to force her way, if possible, within ten miles 
of Post St. ^^incent and lay until further orders. ^ * * 
I got everything complete and on the 5tli, at 3 o'clock p. 
m., marched, being joined by the volunteer companies of 
the principal young men of Illinois, commanded by Cap- 
tain Charleville and Captain McCarty. Those of the troop 
were Captain Joseph Bowman and Edward Worthington, 
of the Light Horse." 

The little army's travels and doings, from Kaskaskia to 
the near approach to Vincennes, will be given from Cap- 
tain Bowman's diary, as they were clearly recorded in his 
journal, in preference to that taken from the letters of 
Colonel Clark in his memoirS;^ because the latter were 
written several years after these events occurred, when his 
recollection might have been faulty. He says: "Having 
crossed the Kaskaskia river on the 5th of February, 1779, 
the first day's journey was about three miles through mud 
and water." For some days following they found the 
conditions to be of a similar character and made slow 

" "On FelDruary 10th crossed the Eiver Petit Fork upon 
trees that were felled for that purpose, the water being so 
high there was no fording it. Still raining and no tents. 

"On the lltli, crossed Saline river. 

"12th of March crossed Cat Plains and killed numbers 
of buffalo ; the road very bad and immense quantities of 
rain had fallen. The men much fatigued ; camped on the 
edge of tlie wood. The plain is meadow, being fifteen or 
more miles across. It was late in the night before the 

•■■' Colonel Clark's letter to the Governor of Virginia. 


baggage and troops got together. Xow within twenty-one 
miles of St. Vincent. 

'''13th — Arrived at the two Wabashes. Although a 
league asunder, they now made but one. We set to mak- 
ing a canoe. 

"14th — Finished the canoe, and put her into the river 
about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. 

"15th — Ferried across the two Wabashes, it being then 
live miles in water to the opposite hill, where we camped. 
Still raining. Orders not to fire any guns for the future, 
except in cases of necessity. 

"16th — Marched all day through rain and water. 
Crossed Fox river. Our j^i'ovisions began to be short. 

"iTth — ^larehed early, crossed several rivers very deep. 
Sent Mr. Kennedy, our commissary, with three men to 
cross the Eiver Embarrass, if possible, and proceed to a 
plantation opposite Post ^"incent in order to steal boats or 
canoes to ferry us across the Wabash. About an hour by 
sun we got near the River Embarrass. Found the country 
overflowed with water. We strove to find the Wabash. 
Traveled until 8 o'clock in mud and water, but could find 
no place to camp on. Still kept raining on, but after some 
time Mr. Kennedy and his party returned. Found it im- 
possible to cross the Embarrass river. We found the water 
falling from a small spot of ground; stayed there the re- 
mainder of the night. 1 )rizzling and dark weather. 

"18th — At break of day heard Governor Hamilton's 
morning gun. Set off and marched do^^^l the river. 
■" * " About 3 o'ch^ck came to the bank of the Wa- 
bash ; made rafts for four men to cross and go up to town 
and steal boats, but they spent the day and night in the 


water to no jtiirposo, for there was not one foot of di-v 
land to be found. 

"lOtli — Captain McCarty's company set to making a 
canoe, and at 3 o'clock four men returned after spending 
the night on some old logs in the water. The canoe fin- 
ished, Captain McCarty, with three of his men, embarked 
in the canoe and made the third attempt to steal boats, 
but soon returned, having discovered four large fires 
about a league distant from the camp, which seemed to 
him to be the fires of whites and Indians. Colonel Clark 
sent two men in the canoe down to meet the bateau, with 
orders to come on day and night, that being the last hope, 
and we starving. Many of the men much cast down, par- 
ticularly the volnnteers. JSTo provisions of any sort now 
two days. Hard fortune. 

"20th — Camp very quiet, but hungry ; some almost in 
despair. Many of the Creole volunteers talking of return- 
ing. Fell to making more canoes, when about 12 o'clock 
onr sentries on the river brought to a boat with five 
Frenchmen from the Post, who told us that we were not as 
yet discovered; that the inhabitants were well disposed 
towards us, etc. Said Captain Willing's brother, who was 
taken in the fort, had made his escape, and that one Mason- 
ville, with a party of Indians, was then seven days out in 
pursuit of him, with much more news to onr favor, such as 
repairs done on fort, the strength, etc. They informed us 
of two canoes they had seen adrift some distance above us. 
Ordered that Captain Worthington ^vitli a party go in 
search of them. Returned late with one only. One of 
our men killed a deer, which was brought into camp. 

"21st — At break of day began to ferry our men over in 
canoes to a small hill, called 'Mammelle' (a prominence, a 


kimll nr snuill hill risiuii' ;iliu\-c the \v;U(,'r, called sd liv rlu' 
French, which is likened nnto the niaunna or breast rising 
above the surface of the chest. This is nearly opposite 
the town of St. Francisville, Illinois.) Captain Williams, 
with two men, went to look for a passage and were discov- 
ered by two men in a canoe, but could not fetch rliciii to. 
The whole army being over, we thought to get to town that 
night, so we plunged into the water, sometimes to the neck, 
for more than one league, when we stopped on the next 
hill (at or near St. Rose Catholic Church grounds) of the 
same name (Mammelle), there being no dry land on any 
side for many leagues. Our pilots say we can not get 
along — that it is impossible. Rain all this day. ]^o pro- 

"22d — Colonel Clark encourages his men, which gave 
them great spirits. Marched on in the water. Those that 
were very weak and faiiiishod from so much fatigue and 
hunger went in the canoes. AVe came one league further 
to some Sugar camps (situated alxiut foiu* miles below 
town, to the right, going south of Cathlionette road), 
where we stayed all night. Heard the evening and morn- 
ing guns of the fort. Xo provisions yet. Lord, help us. 

"23d — Set oif to cross the plain, called Horseshoe Plain, 
about four miles long and covered wdth water breast high. 
Here we expected some of our brave men must certainly 
perish, having frozen in the night, and so long fasting. 
Having no other recourse but wading over this plain, or 
rather lake of water, we jdunged into it with courage, 
Colonel Clark, being the first, taking care to have the boat 
try to take those that were weak and numb with cold into 
them, l^ever were men so animated with the thouo-ht of 


avenging the wrongs done to their back settlements as this 
small army. About 1 o'clock we came in sight of the 
town. We halted on a small hill of dry land (two miles 
south of town, to the right of same road from town) called 
'Warriors' Island/ where we took a prisoner hunting 
ducks, who informed us that no person suspected our com- 
ing at that season of the year." 

Having followed Captain Bowman's account of the 
march of Colonel Clark's army to Warriors' Island, the 
writer will give the record of Colonel Clark himself from 
that on of the succeeding journey to the town. He says: 
"To our inexpressible joy we got safe on terra firma 
within half a league of the fort, covered by a small grove 
of trees, and had a full view of the wdslied-for spot. 
* * * We had already taken some prisoners that 
were coming from the town. Lying in this grove some 
time to dry our clothes by the sun, we took another pris- 
oner, known to be a friend, from whom we got all the intel- 

NoTE. — Warriors' Island, alluiled to by Captain Bowman in his foregoing 
journal of the route traveled, is a piece oi high ground situated a quarter of a 

mile southwest of the residence of Mr. Cline, on the Cathlionette road. Mr. 

John R. Glass, now an elderly citizen, informs me that he liveil on this farm 
land, from early childhood, with his grandfather, Mr. Deleria, until he was 
thirteen years old, and said: " The current opinion in early days was that the 
hill received its name from the fact that it was once occupied by some Indian 
warriors." It is really not an island, as the reader might infer, but high ground 
on the lower prairie, which appeared only as an island during an overflow of the 
river. The nature of the route traveled to the village excludes "Bunker Hill," 
in the line of march, as some have asserted. The army could not have 
reached this hill, had it so desired, on account of the large deep pond and miry, 
swampy slough, that laid between them. During the driest time of the year 
such a feat would have been difficult to accomplish by starving and exhausted 
troops. Besides, the route by the way of the hill would have been longer and 
out of the direct line of march, and, if it could have been gained, another ravine 
and slough would have intervened between them and the next hill, which would 
have been difficult to reach on account of the high stage of waters then existing. 
The army took the only practicable route, although it was covered with water 
that was in many places, the narrator says, " waist high." 


ligence wished for; but would not suffer him to see our 
troops, except a few. '" " ^ I resolved to appear as 
daring as possible, that the enemy might conceive, by our 
behavior, that we were very numerous, and probably dis- 
courage them. I immediately wrote to the inhabitants in 
general, informing them where I was, and what I deter- 
mined to do, desiring the friends to the States to keep 
close to their houses, and those in the British interest to 
repair to the fort and fight for their King; otherwise 
tliere would be no mercy shown them, etc. Sending the 
compliments of several officers that were known to be 
expected to reinforce me, to several gentlemen of the 
town, I dispatched the person off with this letter, waiting 
until nearly sunset, giving him time to get near the town 
before we marched. As it was an open plain from the 
wood that covered us, I marched in time to be seen 
from the town before dark, but taking advantage of the 
land, disposed the lines in such a manner that nothing but 
the pavillions (flags that the ladies of Kaskaskia had given 
him) could be seen, having as many of them as would be 
sufficient for one thousand men, which was observed by 
the inhabitants, who had just received my letter, and who 
counted the different colors, and judged our numbers 
accordingly. But I was careful to give them no oppor- 
tunity of seeing our troops before dark, which it would be 
before we could arrive at the village. The houses 
obstructed the fort's observing us, and no alarm was 
evinced, as I expected, by the inhabitants. In order to 
giA^e them time to publish the letter we laid still till sun- 
(hA\n, when we began our march, all in ordei", with colors 
flving, and drums braced. After wjidiug to the edge 


of the water, l)reast liigli, we mounted the rising ground the 
town is built on. (This ground is now occupied by the 
Catholic cemetery and O'Donnell's field.) 

"About 8 o'clock Lieutenant Bailey, wuth about fourteen 
men, were dispatched to fire on the fort while we took 
possession of the town, and ordered to stay until he was 
relieved by another party, which was done. 

"We were informed that Captain Lamont, with a party 
of twenty-five men, were out on a scout, wlio, liearing our 
firing, came back." Early in the night the Indian chief. 
Tobacco, friendly to the Americans, approached Colonel 
Clark and told him he could muster twenty-five braves, and 
requested that he might lead them, saying that "they 
would climb the fort." Clark thanked him and said: "Tell 
them to go to their houses ; they might be mistaken for 
foes." He acquiesced, says a narrator, in this decision, but 
stayed with Clark, at the latter's request, during the 
remainder of the night, well pleased, and gave him much 
valuable information. 

"At the first fire the various troops took positions. 
Charleville took a position among the houses on the south 
side of the fort ; Bowman and his company at the foot of 
Busseron street, on the river bank ; while Lieutenant 
Bailey opened fire on the front and flank of the fortress." 
So comjilacent was Ilamilton in the belief that Clark 
would not dare so rash an attempt as to attack the fort, 
and so well had the secret of his ap]n'oacli been kept, of an 
invading force by the citizens, that it was only after a Brit- 
ish soldier had been shot down at a port hole he realized 
that the Americans confronted him in battle array. 

"The firing continued all night, the cannon of the fort 
shattering houses, but almost useless against the riflemen, 


protected by the houses and picket fences. The embraz- 
ures for the cannon had to be frequently shut, for the 
flash of the guns but invited the sure aim of fifty besiegers. 
Two American troopers were wounded in this night 
attack, while the English lost three killed and four 
wounded. Major Bowman commenced to entrench on 
Main street, preparatory for the use of the cannon, 
expected hourly by the bateau, with which he expected to 
blow up the fort's magazine." Early in the morning Cap- 
tain Lamont's force, which had returned the night before, 
were hovering around the town, seeking to enter the fort. 
Clark sent a detachment to intercept and capture them, 
but finding it fruitless, withdrew his troops a little from 
the garrison, in order to give them a chance to get in, 
which they did, much to their credit and his satisfaction, 
believing if they did not get in at daybreak, they would go 
off and join other Indians. He says: "Several of the 
number, however, were captured, among them a famous 
Indian partisan of the name of Masonville." He was cap- 
tured by two Indian boys, it is said, who tied and took him 
near the fort, and fought behind him as a breastwork, sup- 
posing that the British woidd not fire at them for fear of 
killing him. The news coming to Clark, he ordered them 
to take him to the guard house, which they did, but were 
so inhuman as to take a part of his scalp on the way. When 
the firing ceased, at daylight, the troops being nearly fam- 
ished and exhausted from incessant labor and long fasting, 
Clark, in order to give time for rest and victualing the 
troops, sent a flag of truce with a letter of a bluffing kind 
to Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton. During this truce 
interval the ladies of the village busied themselves in giv- 
iuii' the famished soldiers the first full meal thev had had 


for about five days. Colonel Clark's note to Lieutenant- 
Governor Hamilton reads: ''Sir — In order to save your- 
selves from the impending storm that now threatens you, I 
order you tr) immediately surrender yourselves, with all 
your garrison, stores, etc. Eor, if I am obliged to storm 
you, you may depend on such treatment as is justly due to 
a murderer. Beware of destroying stores of any kind, or 
letters that are in your possession, or hurting one house in 
the town, for, by Heavens, if you do, there shall be no 
mercy shown you. (Signed) C R. Clark." To which the 
British commander replied : ^'Lieutenant-Governor Ham- 
ilton begs leave to acquaint Colonel ( 'lark that he and his 
garrison are not disposed to be awed into any action 
unworthy British subjects." Then the firing was renewed 
and continued at the end of the truce with more vigor than 
ever, and the men were in favor of storming the citadel. 
Hamilton, becoming depressed, sent that evening a flag of 
truce and a proposition to Colonel Clark, as follows: 
"Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton proposes to Colonel Clark 
a truce for three days, during which time he pledges that 
there shall be no defensive works carried on in the gar- 
rison, on condition that Colonel Clark shall observe, on his 
part, a like cessation of defensive works ; that is, he wishes 
to confer with Colonel Clark, as soon as can be, and prom- 
ises that whatever may pass between them two, and 
another person, mutually agreed upon, to be present, shall 
be secret till matters be finished ; as he wishes that what- 
ever results of the conference may be, it may tend to the 
honor and credit of each party. H Colonel Clark makes 
a difficulty of coming into the fort, Lieutenant-Governor 
Hamilton will speak to him by the gate. February 24, 
1Y79. (Signed) Henry Hamilton." 


Clark was sure that the delayed boat Avould arrive in 
three days, when he would be reinforced with men, ammu- 
nition, stores and artillery, and could well afford some 
delay on that accoimt, yet he was so confident that he was 
master of the situation, he lietermined to press his advan- 
tage to the utmost, and accordingly returned the follow- 
ing answer: 

"Colonel Clark's compliments to Lieutenant-Governor 
Hamilton, and begs leave to inform him that he mil not 
agree to any terms other than Mr. Hamilton surrenders 
himself and garrison, at discretion. If Mr. Hamilton is 
desirous, of a conference with Colonel Clark, he will meet 
hiin at the church with Captain Helm. (Signed) G. R. 

This note had the effect to bring about a conference 
at the churcli. When tliey met Clark had little to say, 
as he considered Hamilton and his officers as murder- 
ers, and intended to treat them as such. The conference 
brought about no agreement, although Hamilton was dis- 
posed to surrender on conditions favorable to himself and 
followers. After stating the terms and Clark not agTce- 
ing, he asked: ''What more do you want?" Clark re- 
plied : 'T want sufficient cause to put all the Indians and 
partisans to death, as the greater part of these ^dllains are 
with you." All of Hamilton's propositions being rejected, 
he asked Clark if nothing would do but fighting. To which 
Clark replied: "I know nothing else." Clark then states 
that Hamilton begged him to stay until he should go to 
the garrison and consult with his officers. 

The Kickapoo Indians, who were friendly to the Amer- 
icans, about this time discovered a party of Indians, whom 



Hamilton had sent out for scalps, coming over the hills 
back of the village, and gave the information to Clark, 
and a party was sent out to meet tlieui on the connnons. 
They conceived our troops to be a party sent bv Hamilton 
to meet and conduct them in — an honor commonly paid 
them, "I was," said Clark, "highly pleased to see each 
of the party whooping, hallooing and striking each others' 
breasts, as they approached in open field, each seeming to 
outdo the other with the greatest signs of joy. The poor 
devils never discovered their mistake until too late for 
many of them to escape. Six of them were made prisoners, 
two escaped and the rest were so badly wounded, as we 
afterwards learned, that but one lived. I had now as fair 
an opportunity of making an impression on the Indians as I 
could have washed for — that of convincing them that Gov- 
ernor Hamilton could not give them that protection he had 
made them believe he could ; and, in some measure, to 
incense the Indians against him for not exerting himself 
to save their friends ; and I ordered the prisoners to be 
tomahawked in the face of the garrison. It had the effect 
I expected. Instead of nudging their friends inveterate 
against us, thoy uj^braided the English for not trying to 
save their friends, and gave them to understand that they 
believed them liars and not Avarriors." A thrilling inci- 
dent, it is said, occurred at the execution of the captured 
warriors. The leader of them proved to be the son of a 
Frenchman named St. Croix, a meud)er of Captain 
McCarty's volunteer ('om])aiiy fi'om ('ahokia, Illinois. He 
was painted like an Indian, aud not even his father recog- 
nized him while standing guard over liiiu with a drawn 
sword, to see that he did not escape. At the critical 


niomeut, when the ax was about to fall, he cried out: ^'O, 
save me.'' The father recognized his voice, and you may 
easily guess at the agitation and behavior of the two per- 
sons. Clark, who had so little mercy for such murderers, 
and had such a valuable opportunity for example, knowing 
that there would be great solicitation to save him, says he 
immediately absconded; but so exceedingly well had the 
father performed his duties in the service, at his earnest 
request, the officer in charge granted a reprieve on certain 

After this episode the chief officers met in council again, 
consisting of Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton and Major 
Hays, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, on the part of 
Great Britain, and Colonel Geora'e Rogers Clark and Cap- 
tain Joseph Bowman, representing the Americans, and 
Captain Leonard Helm, mutually selected as a witness. 
Hamilton produced articles of capitulation, which were 
rejected by Clark, and they separated. 

Tow^ards the close of the evening Clark sent ILuiiilton 
the following articles: 

"Tst. That Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton engages to 
deliver to Colonel G. 11. Clark, Fort Sackville, as it is at 
present, with all the stores, etc. 

"2d. The garrison are to deliver themselves up as 
prisoners of war. and march out with their arms and 

"3d. The garrison to be delivered up to-morrow at 10 
o'clock a. m. 

"4th. Three days' time to be allowed the garrison to 
settle their accounts with traders and inhabitants. 

"5th. The officers of the garrison to be allowed their 
nccessarv bacffac'e, etc." 


These terms were accepted by Hamilton, and lie deliv- 
ered np tlie fort at 10 o'clock a. m., Eebruarv 25, 1779, 
and the stars and stripes, wliicli had been hauled down 
when Captain Helm delivered up the fort to Hamilton, 
and so dear to that ideal patriotic heroine, "Alice of Old 
Vincennes," mounted up the flagstaff again to kiss the 
morning breezes, fanned by the wings of Liberty, as she 
hovered over and welcomed home and blessed Old Glory 
with benisons of love. 

Colonel Clark immediately changed the name of the 
fort to that of Patrick Henry, in honor of the then Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, dating his official papers at Fort Patrick 

Soon after capitulation was effected it was learned that 
an expedition was on its way from Detroit, and was 
expected shortly, in aid of Hamilton, by the way of the 
lakes and the Wabash, composed of soldiers, stores, muni- 
tions of war, etc. Captain Bowman, who had been pro- 
moted to the office of Major, was ordered by Colonel, now 
General, Clark, by promotion after the capture of the 
town, to intercept it. Accordingly, on the evening of the 
26th, with three boats, armed with swivels, taken from 
the fort (the bateau from Kaskaskia had not yet arrived), 
under the command of Major Legare and fifty volunteer 
militia, started on the expedition up the river. 

Goodspeed says in his history: "They journeved up it 
and stopped at the foot of an island at Belgrade, under 
overhanging willows, and there the boats were tied up and 
a party with light canoes were sent to explore the waters 
above." At Point Couppe, about sunrise the next morn- 
ing, the descending fleet, consisting of seven bateaux, was 


descried. Frederick Melil, one of the Virginia troops, who 
led the reconnoiteriug party, puHed rapidly back to Bow- 
man and gave information of the strength of the approach- 
ing fleet. On the evening of the 2d day of March the 
unsuspecting Canadians came into the narrow channel 
between the island and main shore, where the Americans 
lay entrenched. A cry of ''Round to and come ashore," 
was the first intimation the party from Detroit received 
that an enemy of the King's lay in these waters. The hail 
was quickly responded to when followed by a shot fired 
across the path of the descending fieet, and a demand 
made for its surrender. Bowman sent out boats with 
Major Legare, who ordered those in charge to make fast to 
the shore. When this was done Adiniar, a caj)tain of the 
commissary, formally turned over the fleet, with thirty- 
eight private soldiers as prisoners, and stores and pro- 
visions and baled goods. 

The expedition returned at once to the town and the 
soldiers and boats, filled with booty, were turned over to 
the American commander. This capture, with that of the 
fort in the town, yielded Clark seventy-nine prisoners, be- 
sides ofiicers, twelve pieces of artillery and stores to the 
amount of 50,000 pounds. 

On March 7th Captain AVilliams and Lieutenant Rogers, 
with a detail of twenty-five men, were ordered to escort 
the prisoners to the Ohio Falls, among whom were Gov- 
ernor Hamilton, Major John Hay, Captain Laniont, Lieu- 
tenant Schiflin, Monsieur de Jean, the Grand Judge of 
Detroit, Pierre Andre, his partner, Dr. McEboth, Fran- 
cois Masonville and Mr. Bell Fenibb, together with 
eighteen privates; many others were paroled. 


Lieutenant llogers liad orders to conduct tlieni to Wil- 
liamsburg, Vii'uiiiia, fr()ni the Falls, where tliey were 
ironed and confined in jail until Septeuiher 25tli follow- 
ing, when they were ordered to Hanover Court-House, 
where they were released on parole, to remain within cer- 
tain limits. 

Thus ended GJeneral George Rogers Clark's campaign 
against the English in the Northwest, achieving victories 
as brilliant as any recorded in American history, whose 
far-reaching and beneficent results were commensurate 
with the most astute diplomacy the ISTation has evolved. 

Following the capture of Vincennes by General Clark, 
with Virginia and volunteer troops from Illinois, in 1779, 
and the treaty of peace with Great Britain having been 
made in 1783, with the United States, Virginia ceded the 
conquered territory of the Xorthwest to the United 
States in 17SL In 1787 the N^orthwestern Territory, 
embracing the regions between the Ohio and INIississippi 
rivers and the Great Lakes of the north, was organized. 
Congress, in 1788, appointed Arthur Sinclair (iovernor of 
this Territory, with his capital at Marietta, Ohio, and he 
appointed Winthrop Sargent, in 1790, to come to Vin- 
cennes to lay out a county and to establisli a court. The 
county was named Knox, in honor of (ioneral Henry 
Knox, then Secretary of War ; and for a like reason, in 
1788, while Major Hamtranck was stationed here, at the 
suggestion of General Ilarmar, Fort Patrick Henry was 
changed, in name, to that of Fort Knox. 

May 7, 1800, the Territory of Indiana was organized, 
including in its boundaries Michigan and Illinois (its pop- 
ulation then being 4,875), under the name of Knox 
county, and its capital established at Vincennes. 


In 1800 (leiici'iil William Ilciirv liarrisdii \vas 
appointed ( JovcriKir of the TcrriTorv, l»iit he did not enter 
n])on his dnties until Januarv, l.soi. A Territorial Gov- 
ernment was then formed, bnt the legislative branch did 
not r)rganizc until the 2lith of July, LsOo, when it met in 
the house on the south corner of Broadway and Second 
streets;"" a little later, in 1809, in the first court house 
erected on the northwest corner of Buntin and Third 
streets. 1'here is another contention as to the house and 
place of meeting- of the Territorial Legislature, and that 
is that it met in the upper rooms of the two-story frame 
building on the southwest side of ^Liiu street, al)out the 
center of the block, between Second and Third streets, ac- 
cess to it being by an outside stairway. I think these dis- 
crejiancies may be reconciled by supposing that the legisla- 
tive l)o(ly did meet at the respective buildings named. The 
first meetings occurred on Broadway; subsecpiently they 
were held in the first court house, and finally in the build- 
ing on ]Main street, just preceding the removal of the seat 
of government to Corvdon. The latter building is said to 
have been removed to Upper Third street, this side of the 
park, and near the southwest corner of Third and Hick- 
man streets. What makes the latter statement plausible 
is the fact that a house stands at the point indicated, the 
southwestern side, showing, l)v the pieced weatherboard- 
ing, that an outside stairway once gave entrance to the 
upper rooms. The house is in a fair state of preservation 
and is owned by ^Ir. Thomas Murphy, who inherited it 
from an aunt. The house, he says, was moved from Main 
street in 18.") 8 to the present site. It is said by renters 

•■ W. H. Smith Hist. Tn.l., ].. 200. 


who occupy it now that the iii^por part of the l)iiil(ling con- 
tained oi'iginallv but one room, a])out twenty feet square, 
but is now divided into smaller rooms. Mr. Murphy showed 
the writer an iron lock, taken off the cellar door, of huge 
proportions, weighing several pounds, 8x12 inches in width 
and length, with a key about ten Inches in length and 
w^eighing one-half pound. They are thought to be of Eng- 
lish manufacture, the tumbler and key being of an intri- 
cate nature, and well fitted to baffle lock-pickers and bur- 
glars. The lock was probably used to secure valuables 
and gives color to the claim that the house was once the 
meeting place of the Legislature, or was the office of the 
receiver of public moneys. It is in a fair working condi- 
tion, despite the ravages of the rust of time, and works 
and looks as if it could endure use another century. Gov- 
ernor Harrison retained his office a year after he fought 
the battle of Tippecanoe, when ho resigned, having been 
appointed to command the Army of the N'orthwest, on the 
24th day of September, 1812. General Thomas Posey 
succeeded him and was installed May 25, 1813. On June 
80, 1805, Michigan Territory was set off from Indiana 
Territory, and March 1, 1809, Illinois was detached from 
it, leaving Indiana Territory with its present boundaries. 
Vincennes ceased to be the capital March 11, 1813, it then 
being moved to Corydon, where, on June 10th, the first 
meeting of the convention to form a State Constitution 
met. Corydon continued to be the capital until the Terri- 
tory assumed statehood, in 1816, wdien it was moved to its 
present site, the city of Indianapolis. 

chapter IIL 


THE first authentic mention of the erection of a 
fort at the trading Indian village, Che-pe-ko-ke, 
the site of the city of Vincennes, is found in a 
letter" written by Morgan de Vincennes, March 7, 1733, 
and was in answer to his superior officer, asking what 
progress he had made in establishing a post at this place, 
he having been ordered here through an edict from the 
French Government, which was dated Paris, France, 
January 1, 1731. Many efforts had been previously 
made to get a post established here by the commandant 
of the "Illinois country" and interested trading com- 
panies, but had failed up to this time. It would take 
some time for the order to reach this country, and 
the likelihood is that it did not reach Vincennes be- 
fore the latter part of the year 1731, or the begin- 
ning of 1732. This view of the case may be inferred, as 
the records show that he only drew one-half pay in 1731 
for services at this post, and full pay in 1732. In his 
answer to his superior he stated that he had built a fort 
and two houses, but needed a barracks, thirty more sol- 
diers and an officer. This statement, made in March, 
1733, indicates the erection of the fort the previous year, 
and that the year 1732 is, no doubt, when the first fort 
was built. Having been called to Louisiana in 1736, with 

* Ind. Hist. Pub. for 1902, p. 29. 


liis coinniaud, to join other troops from the South, to give 
battle to the Chickasaw Xation, he was slain there, and the 
fort at the Indian village was, in memory of him, chris- 
tened Fort St. Vincent, and was known by that name until 
changed l)y the next commander, Louis St. Ange, to his 
own name, bv which it was known until this part of the 
country was ceded by France to England. 

Colonel Ramsey, on taking possession of the fort in the 
name of Great Britain, renamed it Fort Sackville, in honor 
of an English soldier and statesman, then in the zenith of 
his glory and popular favor in 1764.* 

There has been some difference of opinion as to the 
exact location of the fort on account of the tendency of 
some to multiply the old defenses of the town. Beyond 
doubt it was located on the ground in front of the old 
Catholic church, as it looked northwest, and included lots 
numbers 34, 35, 24 and 25, near the river bank, and lots 
numbers 23 and 26 on the north, reaching to Vigo street, 
according to the plat of the city by Emison & Johnson, 
made in 1821. The town was not before laid off, and the 
streets made by the aforesaid survey and lots numbered, I 
think, give the exact location, and a good idea may be 
formed of it by the following boundaries: Taking the 
river as one side, Barnett street as another ; a line parallel 
with the church property looking north as another, and 
Vigo street as the last. The fort and the church faced 
each other, the former looking southeast, the latter north- 
west, the two being, it is recorded, about eighty yards 

'•■■" (ireorge G. Sackville was an English A'iscount. and served with distinction in 
the British army in 1743-69: was .Secretarj- of State, for the colonies, during the 
Revolution, and especially distinguished for his bitterness toward them. Born, 
1716: died, 1785. Supposed to be the author of the Letters of Junius.— Peoples' 
Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 1533. 


apart. The grouiKl occTipied by the fort, as re^Dreseuted 
in Goodspeed's History, was an irregular ineh>sure, being 
about sixty feet at the narrowest part, and two hundred in 
width, containing between two and three acres. As to the 
character of the defenses of the fort, discrepancies exist. 
The historian above alluded to says: '^Upon the river's 
side, and within forty feet of the water's edge, two lines of 
palisades, reaching twenty feet above the surface of the 
earth, constructed of large timbers from the forest, 
planted firmly in the ground, were backed by a line of 
earthworks thrown up about eight feet high, behind which 
were mounted four six-pounders, en harhette. Along the 
line of Vigo street, at right angles with the river, and 
crossing First street, was the principal entrance, a gate- 
way; and opening uj)on the latter highway, protected by 
this, were similar lines of defense, protected by guns of 
the same caliber at each angle, mounted upon platforms of 
heavy timbers. At the elevation of twenty-five feet at 
each side of the gateway were swivels, trained to conmiand 
the approach along the street. The entire walls were 
pierced at convenient heights by a row of port holes, from 
which musketry could be fired. A similar palisade, 
defended by two guns of ten-pound caliber, protected the 
flank next to the church in the rear of the works, south of 
Barnett street, where there were two towers, or bastions, 
pierced for musketry, made exceptionally strong against 
an assault by a line of heavy timbers joined tightly 
together and covered with earth. Within the fortifica- 
tions were barracks for one thousand men, a magazine and 
ofiicers' quarters." 

Other pictures of the fort do not show that it was a for- 
midable one at the time it was delivered to Captain Helm, 


on August 6, 1718, or when Hamilton recaptured it from 
Helm, in December following, for he described it as a very 
poor affair, and gave inmiediate attention to strengthening 
the defenses, and said: "I built a guard house, barracks 
for four companies, sunk a well and constructed two large 
block houses of oak with embrazures above for five pieces 
of cannon each ; altered and lined the stockades, and laid 
tlie fort with gravel." And, in speaking of his surrender, 
and giving a reason for it, he said : "The officers, who had 
continued in tents all winter, were exposed to the fire of 
the enemies' riflemen, as the picketing of the fort was so 
poorlv set up that one might pass the clenched hand 
between the timbers of the stockades." Count Volney, 
who visited Vincennes in 1790, in speaking of the defenses, 
says : "Adjoining the* village is a space inclosed by a ditch 
eight feet wide and sharpened stakes six feet high. This is 
called the fort, and is a sufficient protection against the 

It will 1)6 seen by the foregoing description that the 
fort must have been as it was when "added to and remod- 
eled" by Hamilton, and at its best; and that by Count 
Volney, seventeen years later, when it had become deter- 
iorated, and when forts in this region were becoming more 
ornamental than useful. 

As to the number of forts said to have been erected in 
Vincennes, the writer addressed an inquiry to an official of 
the War Department, Washington, D. C, asking if there 
was any evidence on file there showing that there was ever 
more than one fort erected here, and if so, had it ever 
been moved out of the town. The following reply was 

■' (xooclsiiecd. Hist. Knox County, p. 235. 


received : "The following writers, who have said more or 
less on the history of Fort Sackville (otherwise known as 
Port St. Vincent, Fort Patrick Henrv and possibly identi- 
cal with Fort Knox), make no mention of it ever having 
been removed from its original location: Butler's History 
of Kentucky, Dunn's History of Indiana, Brown's Old 
Xorthwest, Albuck's Annals of the West, Brice's History 
of Ft. Wayne, Davidson & Stevenson's History of Illinois, 
Law's History of Vincennes and Dr. Ilass' Indian Wars of 
West Virginia." 

Dunn, in his history (p. 265) says: "A fort was built 
in 1787 and named Fort Knox by General Harmar." This 
is evidently a mistake, but one that might have been easily 
fallen into. At the time specified Major Hamtranck was 
in command of this post, when some correspondence 
occurred between General Harmar, then at his post in Cin- 
cinnati, and Major Hamtranck, located at "Post Vin- 
cennes," which in part is as follows: 

"Fort Harmar, October 13, 1788. 

"Dear Major — "' * * Let your fort be named 
Fort Knox, et«." 

One need not conclude, from this expression of General 
Harmar, that a new fort had been built. There was prece- 
dent and reason why the name of the old fort should be 
changed. First, For many years the name of the fort at 
Vincennes had been changed by each successive com- 
mander; second. General Knox was then Secretary of War 
and it would be paying him a compliment to give the fort 
his name. On the accession of Virginia to the ownership 


of the coimtrv the fort's name was changed from the name, 
of Sackville, to that of Fort Patrick Henry (the then Gov- 
ernor and Coimiiander-in-chief of the Virginia forces), by 
General Clark. Third, "Why wonld llamtranck desire to 
bnild the fort when there was one already constructed? 
In ITSS the rights of Virginia had passed to the United 
States (lovin-nment, when a United States army officer was 
placed in charge of the post ; then the pretty compliment 
to the Secretary of War, (Jeneral Knox, was suggested by 
General Ilannar to Major Ilauitraiick: ''Let vour fort be 
named Fort Knox." 

A further extract from the official of the War Depart- 
ment above mentioned says: ''As there seems to be no 
mention of the construction of this fort (Fort Knox), it is 
quite correct to su]iy)ose that it Avas identical with Post 
Vinccnnes, and that the change of name was merely one of 
honor (to General Knox) and was made in connection with 
the revival of the military at that ]iost, under the direction 
of Major llamtranck."' And thus it was that Fort Knox, 
by the stroke of the ])en, which is sometimes mightier than 
the sword, without the aid of axe, pick or shovel, sprang 
into existence, and Uy its metamorphosis ^Major llamtranck 
has given historians a world of trouble in regard to this 
alleged ucav fort. From the same War Department official 
I will further quote, as folloAvs : ''Dunn, in addition to 
this, states immediately after the surrender of Fort Sack- 
ville, the name \\as changed to Fort Patrick Henry, by 
which name // irns Jniotrii for nhoul ioi years.'' 

Let it be remembered that thc^ life of Fort Patrick 
Henry was just about the lapse of time needed to inaugu- 
rate another nanu — Fort Knox — by Major llamtranck. 


As there is no record of a second fort having been bnilt 
here, or removed elsewhere, the only rational solution for 
the discrepancies that can be fonnd is in the change in 
names, as suggested, and no new fort was erected at that 
time. If Major Hamtranck actually built a fort in Vin- 
cennes in 1788, as some historians assert, where was that 
fort in 1796, only eight years later, when Count Volney, 
a distinguished French traveler, visited and remained 
some days here, and described the town ? Mention was 
made by him of but one fort, and to suppose that this one 
was the new alleged fort built by Major Hamtranck is to 
suppose an unreasonable thing. At the time of t'lie 
alleged building of a second fort for defense the necessity 
for forts was passing away, and dismantling them was the 
order of the day, if the condition of Fort Knox was truly 
represented by Count Volney when he wrote of it in 
1796. At that time the Red Man was turning his face 
toward the West, to return no more, and Great Britain 
had been whipped into good behavior. Thus it will be 
seen that Yincennes never had but one real fort, although 
during the passing years subsequent to its erection and 
the successive officials controlling it it received many 
names, viz. : Fort Vincennes, in honor of Morgan de Vin- 
cennes, the founder of the village, a French officer sent 
here to build the fort and be its commander; St. Ange, in 
honor of his successor; Fort Sackville, in honor of Lord 
Sackville, an English General and nobleman; Fort Pat- 
rick Henry, in honor of the then Governor of Virginia, 
and, finally, Fort Knox, in honor of General Henry Knox, 
Secretary of War in 1788, when one officer sought to 
compliment his superior, as other officers stationed here 
had done before, by calling it Fort Knox. 


Another statement lias been made that the alleg'ed fort 
was bnilt by Hamtranek early in Jnly, 1788, and that it 
was moved to a site three miles np the river on the east 
bank of the same. The fact is, ^Lajor Hamtranek did not 
arrive at Vineennes nntil Jnly 25 of that year to be com- 
mandant of the post. And. no evidence exists to show that 
he bnilt a fort here, exoept the mere snggestion of General 
Ilarmar, October 13, 1788, "Let your fort be called Fort 
Knox" ; nor is there any evidence to show that Fort Knox, 
or any other fort, was removed from Vineennes to any 
place ontsidc of town. 

There is a tradition existing that the Frencli citizens 
living in the vicinity of the fort complained to Governor 
Harrison that the soldiers at the garrison gave the:n great 
annoyance and petitii~)ned him to remove tlie:u ; that he 
gave heed to their prayer, and that in 1803 the garrison 
was removed to the high gronnd facing Buntin street, west 
of Water street, abont the place where the Baltimore Sc 
Ohio Southwestern Railwav freight depot stands, and that 
the palisades of the old fort were nsed in making tlu' ncnv 
one."" The late A. B. McKee told the writer some years 
ago that one of his aunts, a Mrs. Buntin, '"Ali'^e of Old 
Vineennes," avIio lived just al)ove tl'e L]ro;!dwa^■ mill site, 
told him that by looking init at her window north she 
could see a fort. And traditi"n savs that the ])alisades of 
the old fort were used to buihl it. ]\Iv investigations in 
relation to these traditions corr(d)orate the contentions. 
After Governcn- Harrison came here the Hnitod States 
troops were mostly withdrawn from this post, and militia 
troops took their jihice. This being the case, he wouid 

•■' Hist. Knox County, p. 239. (This is an error, a? to date, as fort was stanilinp 
there in 1803; see accompanying map.)— Author. 



have jurisdiction over the defenses and management of 
the garrison, hence we can readily see that the Governor 
might wish to please the people and grant their prayer for 
the removal of the soldiers. Another consideration 
might have influenced him to take this step, and that is, 
that the garrison moved up to the position named would 
be nearer his residence, and could the more readily pro- 
tect him in case of an Indian attack. As no record exists 
on file at the War Department in Washington City of the 
removal of the fort,' the foregoing explanation given may 
account for the existence of the second one, called Fort 
Knox. ISTo published record exists, to the author's knowl- 
edge, of this second fort, but from facts recently devel- 
oped* he is constrained to accept the traditions as facts, 
for the following reasons: First, Through his friend, 
Flonorable Charles G. McCord, Abstractor of Land Titles, 
an old deed was discovered which General W. H. Har- 
rison made to one George Wallace in 1804. In the 
description of the property mentioned in this deed the 
instrument recites: "Beginning at a place situate about 
210 yards above Fort Knox, at Vincennes aforesaid, 
called the Stone landing place," etc. This description indi- 
cates that the fort occupied the ground covered now in 
part by the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railway 
freight depot, on the west side of Water street. Second, 
The writer has a map in his possession which is a certified 
copv of one of the Vincennes Land Districts, made in 
1803, by Thomas Freeman, the original being in the 
archives of the War Department, on which a fort is indi- 
cated, and it was doubtless the one mentioned in describ- 
ing the property in the deed from Harrison to Wallace. 

'■' Deed Rec. Book 13. 155, Vincennes. 



The tradition that a fort was built here in 1788 by 
Major Tlamtranek, and afterwards removed to a site three 
miles above the city, on the east bank of the Wabash 
river, about the year 1812, is not substantiated by facts. 
What could have been the object of removing the fort 
from town to an isolated place up the river about three 
miles ? The fort was for the protection of the citizens 
of the town. Upon the map above alluded to, and here 
given, such a fort is not designated, although the mouth 
of Mill creek (now called Kelso's creek) is plainly dis- 
cernable, and the mouth of Maria creek, ten miles above 
the city, is also to be seen. If a fort had been there it 
would have been plainly marked on this map. That a 
United States garrison was at the point now called ''Fort 
Knox" is not questioned, but that it contained a United 
States fort and removed there from the town is not pre- 
sumable, for the further reasons that no record of it exists 
in the War Department, and from the following additional 
fact that I now give: 

Through Mr. C. G. McCord the writer has seen an 
instrument of writing wherein eighty-five acres of land 
was secured from Jeremiah Buckley for the use of a gar- 
rison in 1803 by the United States Government, and for 
which his heirs were paid the sum of "two hundred and 
eighty dollars in full compensation for the use made of 
the timber and land while the troops of the United States 
occupied the said land.""" It makes no mention of a 
fort being there, but distinctly states the land was for 
garrison purposes. This land endiraces what is called 
"Fort Knox." 

'See Act of Consiess, July, 1832— Re c(. id R. p. 4-*. 


Why a i>;in'is()ii was established up the river three- 
miles is only conjeetural. .Vs some TTnited States troops 
had to be retained in this region so as to be near at hand 
in case of raids by Indians in the connty, and to give them 
something to do in the way of tilling the soil and exercise, 
and thereby lightening the expense of the commissariat, 
may have been, and doubtless were, the reasons for a 
transfer of a portion, if not all, of Fort Knox's garrison 
to that place; and when the fort was disnunitl('(l and its 
inmates removed up the river it is presumed the place was 
dubbed, by courtesy, Eort Knox. The spot the garrison 
occu])ied is a ])ictnres(pic one, of which a pretty pic- 
ture is given in this connection, and it has been a popular 
place for picnics and members of the boating club and 
their fair yonng companions, and doubtless will be in all 
time to C(une, in memory of the soldiers once stationed 
there and foi- its beauty." 

T'ntil the writer investigated the history of our city he 
lia<l supposed that the site was once occupied by a neigh- 
borhood fort, like a dozen other so-called forts in different 
parts of the country ; for instance, those in Widner were 
called Fort Widner, Fort Chandjers, Fort Lemon, Fort 
Polk and Fort Taylor; the largest of these, Widner, con- 
taining three-quarters of an acre of ground, was what 
is called a stockade fort. One was at Emison's .Mill, eight 
miles above the city, and one at ]l>ruceville ; another in 
Busseron township, called "Ochiltree Fort," near the cele- 
brated pear tree, ^Svhicli was twelve feet in circumference 
at the base, oue hundred and twenty feet in height and had 
a lateral spread of one hundred and twenty-six feet, yield- 

'■•■■See Aft of Cunyruss, July. 1832; Uefor.l U. p. 48, at Court House. 


\uiX iiiiiiiially Hftv Imshols <»f fruit.""" Another existed in 
Palmyra township, caUed ''lice's Fort," and one at Pur- 
cell's. The one erected at Emison's Mill, owing to the fact 
that most of the men were absent on duty, and the gar- 
rison consisted of ladies, was dubbed "Fort Petticoat. "f 
The laudable suggestions that have been made from 
time to time that memorials be placed to mark noted 
places in the early history of our city are to be com- 
mended, and if practicable should be acted upon. But the 
first step should be the erection of a monument to the 
memory of George Pogers Clark. Yet, if our patriotism 
becomes so broadened as to embrace every so-called fort 
that once existed in this region, I fear that our benevo- 
lence will be overtaxed, and failure will follow. 


Camp Knox is so closely connected with the history of 
Old Vincennes that it deserves a niche in this volume. It 
was the site of a garrison of United States soldiers early 
in the last century, whither they were removed from Fort 
Knox in the village. It is situated three miles above the 
city on a blufl^ of the eastern bank of the Wabash river. 
It overlooks the river far into Illinois, and beautiful views 
present themselves to the eye, as the borders of the land- 
scape on either shore are set with silver linings by the 
environment of water, which calmly reflects grove and 
sky, or dances in coruscating, sunlit wavelets in answer to 
the calling winds. 

While the garrison was stationed there, the home of Dr. 
Samuel McKee, United States Army Surgeon, was the ob- 

* History Knox County, p. 72. 
fHistory Knox Ci iinty, p. 77. 



j'('('ti\'c ]uiiiit iif 1'r(.'(|U('iit (iutiiii>'s of GovcM'iior William 
liciii-v Harrison and his friends, the Governor often re- 
niavking that the viands served ont there seemed more taste- 
fnl tlian tliose in town.'" 

f^^^.:^.^iJn^^fj ..\ 


When the soldiers were encamped there it was, without 
donl>t, a central place of interest to the country folk, as 
well as the denizens of the town, as little toil, plenty of 
leisure and amusements combined to enliven the barracks 

"This information came from the late A. B. McKee, who was a son of the 
Surgeon, received through his aunt, Mrs. Capt. Robert Buntin, then a resident of 

tCamp Kno.x, the Second, had its origin during the early days of the Civil 
War, and was located northeast of the city one mile. 

72 HlS'l'olMCAL SKKTC]11':S 

dav.s and iiioiitlis; l)ut \\itli tlio ])assiiig- awav of the "pomp 
and cii'cniiistancc of war/' tlic cnuubliiiii", corroding' hand 
of time and decay rohhed it of its artificial gh^ry, strewn 
there by the hand of art, and left it for Nature to restore 
to it again its pristine beauty and loveliness. And yet, 
bereft of its camp adi»i'nments, it presents many points of 
attraction, and needs only a willing hand, reinforced by 
taste and enterprise, to restore to it the glory of the past. 

Its inaccessil)ility to visitors, except by water, prevents 
it from becoming a place of more frequent resort for the 
worshipers of beautiful scenery. By row or sail boat noth- 
ing is more inviting than a jaunt on the "rolling deej)," in 
spring's balmy mornings, when the shores of the river are 
garlanded with myriads of flowers, or in autumn's calm, 
invigorating evenings, when the parti-colored foliage of 
October, in the adjacent forest-lined shores, rivals 
in beautv the shimmering meteoric showers that stud the 
firmament during the twdlight-ides of a November evening. 

Yet unadorned by the hand of art, it is an ideal spot for 
lads and lassies to while away the rosy hours of day, as 
"love's young dream"' clothes it with a halo of glory, Avhile 
woodland songsters warble their sweetest notes, embowered 
in the shady groves, and the piping notes of quail and lark 
eclio back responses from copse and bush. 

But in contemplating these scenes, a tinge of sadness 
casts a shadow on the wings of thought, as one realizes that 
within these precincts forgotten heroes lie, "unwept, un- 
honored and unsung," who will never more waken until 
Eternity's reveille is sounded on the receding shores of 



ri:A("E TO 'PjiKii; asiii:s. 

Tliey sensed their coiuitry in its time of need, 

Aud tliougli remembered not, in uame or deed, 

Their resting place, although theii' souls have fled. 

Should sacred be, in memory of the dead; 

And honored be the hands, in spring's bright hoiuvs. 

That strew their lonely graves with beauteous flowers. 


Chapter IV. 


SUBSEQUE^TT to the capture of Post Viiiceiines by 
Colonel Clark, Colonel John Todd was appointed 
Governor and commandant of it, by the execntive 
and legislative council of Virginia, whose conduct seems 
to have been erratic and brief. He arrived in May, 
1779. While here he exercised autocratic powers and 
disposed of much of the public domain, although the 
Virginia Legislature had forl)idden such action. B[e 
organized a court wdtli the following appointees : Colonel 
Le Gras, Louis Ediline, Pierre Gamelin, and Pierre 
(Juarez; Le Gras becoming secretary. But it seems 
tliat Governor Todd soon tired of this field of labor 
and sought greener pastures and a more inviting and 
extensive plane upon which liis genius nught disport and 
expand, and left this place for Kaskaskia. But, before 
leaving, he delegated his powers to Mr. Le Gras, his substi- 
tute at the Post, who seems to have had fewer scruples on 
the subject of the right to dispose of lands than his supe- 
rior. Governor Todd. IN^ot only did he exercise the power 
of disposing of public domain, but he delegated it to the 
county court, composed of four judges, organized under 
the act of Virginia, and which held their sessions at Vin- 
cennes. They did a wholesale business in the way of dispos- 
ing of the public domain, not only to others, but to them- 



solves, iiol (iiilv l)y the avpeut, l)\it l)_y ''leagues." Tlu; way 
it is reported to liave l»een (l(nie is this: Three of the four 
judges were k^'t on the bench, wliile one retired. The court 
then made a grant of so many leagues of land to their 
absent colleague, which act of theirs was entered of record ; 
he returned as soon as the grant was recorded, and another 
of tliese "ennined" gentlemen left the bench, while the 
chief justice and the other judges made similar grants to 
their absent friend, said friend returuing after such grant 
was duly entered of record ; and so with the fourth.'" 

But little is recorded of the doings of this court, except 
the granting to each other good sized farms belonging to 
the domain of Uncle Sam. Of these grants to themselves 
and their friends in 1783, 26,000 acres was the sum total, 
and by the year 1787 it had reached the figures of 48,000. 
The transactions of this court having been reported to the 
Washington Government in 1790, Winthrop Sargent, Sec- 
retary of the United States for the JSTorthwest Territory, 
was ordered to investigate the matter. Calling upon this 
court, organized by Governor Todd and given extraordi- 
nary powers, for their reasons for their actions in these 
matters, the members of this august tribunal, through their 
spokesman, replied as follows : "That since the establish- 
ment of this country, the commandants have always ap- 
peared to be vested with the power to gTant lands ; their 
founder, M. de Vincennes, began to give concessions, and 
all his successors have given and granted lands and lots. 
Mr. Le Gras was appointed Connnandant of Post Vin- 
cennes by the lieutenant of the country, and Commander- 
in-Chief John Todd, who, in the year 1799 was sent by 

■••'Law's History,, HI. 

?() iiis'iM)in(;AL 8Ki^:tc!HES 

tlic! State of Virginia to regulate the govoTiniicnt of the 
country, and wlio sul).stitute(l ]\Ir. Le Clras with such pow- 
ers. In liis absence, Mr. Le Gras, wlio was then command- 
ant, assumed that lie liad equal power from the command- 
ant in anthority to give lands according tO' ancient usages 
of other commandants; and he verl)ally informed the court 
of the Post of Yiucennes that when they would judge it 
proper to give lots or lands they might do it." 

A commission was appointed to examine these claims, 
and as a specimen, the claim of a ]\[r. Thomas Flower may 
be given. lie claimed an undivided third of a grant made 
by Pierre Quarez & Son of a tract of land beginning at the 
River Maria, to White river, about ten leagues deep, ex- 
cluding from said grant any land that may have been 
granted. This claim of Mr. Plower, as assigned to Pierre 
Gamelin, amounted to 40,000 acres. The Todd court and 
these fraudulent claims having been set aside, Secretary 
Sargent proceeded to organize Knox county, Avliich em- 
braced the Territories of Indiana and Michigan, and estab- 
lish courts having civil and criminal jurisdiction, and they 
were proclaimed organized in June, 1700, the first session 
l)eing held July 14, 1790, by the judges appointed, to wit: 
Antoine Gamelin, Paul Gamelin, Francis Busseron, James 
Johnson and Luke Decker. This court was abolished when 
the Territoiy was established, May 7, 1800, and William 
(Jlark, Henry Vanderburgh and John Griffin were ap- 
pointed by an Act of Congress. The first term of this last 
court was held in February, 1801, the session being held in 
rented property until 1809, in a house owned by L. Baza- 
don, comer Second and Broadway streets ; when the brick 
court house was erected on the corner of Fourth and Buntin 


streets, the sessions were then lield there. This property 
was sold and another buikling erected (on the sqnare on 
which the present temple of jnstiee stands), which was con- 
tracted for in 1831 and finislied in 1832 ; but it, in turn, 
was demolished in 1873, when the present magiiificent 
building was erected at a cost of a half million dollars. 
The courts prevailing here for half a century or more were 
the Circuit, Prol)ate and Court of Common Pleas. The 
circuit judges presiding lind jurisdiction in half a dozen 
counties, holding court alternately in each, hence the names 
circuit judges and circuit courts. 

As population and business increased, it was found 
necessary to change the district, and in 1872 the law was 
changed so that a judge should confine his jurisdiction to 
this city, and the Court of Common Pleas was then abol- 
ished, the business of that court being transferred to the 
Circuit Court and the circuit judge presided over the con- 
solidated courts. 

The Circuit (*ourt as established at this time is as fol- 
lows : Circuit Judge, Orlando F. Cobb ; Prosecuting At- 
torney, W. S. Hoover; Circuit Clerk, James F. Lewis; 
Sheriff, Andrew Sunnnitt ; and the balance of the county 
oflicers arc as follows : Treasurer, C. A. Weisert ; Recorder, 
Frank T. Eniison; Auditor, James D. Williams; Assessor, 
John M. Stork ; Commissioners, Henry Frederick, John 
W. lIcGowen, Isaac Henderson; Coroner, H. W. Held, 
M. I^. ; Superintendent Public Schools, Peter Philipi ; 
County Physician, Doctor Xorman Beckes, and County 
Secretary of the State Board of Health, Toyman M. Beckes, 
M. D. 



ISTo kind of civil government can be said to have been 
established in Vincennes or the Territor}' of the ISTorthwest 
prior to the arrival of John Todd, Esq., in June, 1779, 
who, it is said, acting under a law passed by the Vir- 
ginia Legislature, established civil and criminal courts ; 
but they proved to be inefScient and ephemeral in character 
to such a degree that Winthrop Sargent, who was sent here 
to organize Knox county, said they "eked out of existence 
in the summer of 1787." 

The county having been organized, the Courts of Quar- 
ter Sessions of the Peace and Common Pleas were insti- 
tuted, and a probate judge appointed. But the government 
instituted by him bore equally on the whole territory as 
well as the town. The first town government was not or- 
ganized until 1805, approved in 1807, and ordinances not 
published until 1809, in the Western Sun newspaper. 
The act of incorporating the town occurred on September 
6. 1814, and was approved by the Territorial Legislature 
February 2, 1815. It embraced all that portion of land 
within the bounds of Hart street on the northeast, Eleventh 
street on the southeast, Willow street on the southwest, and 
the Wabash river on the northwest. The lands outside 
these boundaries, called Commons lands (not those em- 
braced by donations), were gi^-eu to the town of Vincennes 
by Congress, with the sti]>ulati()n that the moneys arising 
from the sale thereof should be applied to the drainage of 
the swamp east of town, and that any surplus funds left, 
after such drainage was paid for, should accrue to the 
Vincennes ITniversity Fund (and not be used for town 



purjioses, as stated by Goodspeed in his History of Knox 

These couinion hinds amounted to 4,500 acres. The 
town officials sold them in part to the amount of 
$24,224.69, but expended only $15,500, retaining and 
spending- the l^ahniee of $8,724.69 for town purposes, con- 


trary to the act of Congress, the University getting nothing. 
The l)alance of the lands, if sold, were not accounted for up 
to 1870.* 

The town organization for a tiine consisted of a board 
of trustees, who elected their chairman, secretary and 

'■'Extract from the Report of Colonel C. M. Allen to Trustees of Vincennes 
University, as Chairman of Committee. 


treasurer. The officers were elected by the people, and 
were a president, secretary and treasurer ; all freeholders 
and housekeepers being deemed legal voters. 

Ground for a market house was purcliased, and a mar- 
ket-master appointed and ordered to inclose tlie same with 
a fence, with turnsiles at both ends for ingress and egress ; 
and market day was to open at daylight and close at 9 a. m., 
the opening being annonnced by the blowing of a liorn. 
In 1819 the trustees initiated the first fire company by 
providing ''six fire hooks and ladders" and requiring 
"every family to provide themselves with two two-gallon 
leathern l)uckets ; but where but one chinmey existed only 
one was required." Every citizen was constituted a volun- 
teer member of the fire brigade. In 1830 a Board of 
Health Avas constituted by the appointment of Doctors J. 
D. Wolverton, Joseph Somes and William Dinwiddie. In 
1831 the General Assembly passed an act granting a city 
charter, to be passed on by the voters ; R. P. Price, Judge 
John B. Martin and Joseph Poseman, Secretaries." The 
vote was small, resulting in twenty-three for and twenty 
against it. The charter was not considered legal and was 
not granted. 

Tlie charter was afterwards amended so that the town 
government should he known as the President and Trustees 
of the Borough of Vincennes. A toAvfi liall was erected 
in 1837, and subsequently liad a market attachment, or 
wings added to it, under the same roof, al)out thirty feet 
wide and forty feet long, divided in stalls, where market 
was held tri-weekly. Greengrocers having subsequently 
supplied the place of the market, the old hall was de- 
molished and flie ])resent boantifnl sti-netnre was erected 
on the old site in 1886. 


This form of govenimeiit ol)taiiiO(l until 1852, when a 
city charter was granted, which was amended on January 

25, 1855, so as to create the present form for the govern- 
ment of the city, embracing the foUowiug officers: Mayor, 
Clerk, Civil Engineer, City Board of Health, Police, 
Weighmaster and City Attorney. The present incumbents 
of office are : ]\Iayor, George W. Rousch ; Treasurer, 
Thos. Eastham ; Clerk, Thomas Ilobinson ; Attorney, 
Judge W. W. ^[otfatt; City Engineer, Jeremiah Hershy; 
President Board of Health, Dr. P. H. Caney ; President 
]\retropolitan Police Board. D. S. Bonner. The popula- 
tion of the city at present writing is alxnit 12,000. 


Xot many of the present generation are aware that the 
first land office established in the ^Yest was located at Vin- 
cennes by an act of Congress, passed and approved March 

26, 1804. As the lands had to be surveyed and other pre- 
liminaries attended to before the office could be ]Jaced in 
operation, it did not open until 1807. The first Register 
appointed was Louis Jean Badollet (April 17, 1804), the 
grandfather of our wortliv fellow-citizen, Henrv Badollet, 
who held the position, by successive appointments, for 
thirty-two years, and until LS36, when his son, Albert 
Gallatin Badollet, Avas appointed to succeed him, and held 
the position until 1841. 

Tl'.ere is a little ronmnce connected with 'the appoint- 
iiieut of the elder Badollet. as it was received through the 
influence of Albert Gallatin, wlio was then Secretary of 
thv Ti't'asury, under President Jefferson. Gallatin and 




Badollet were natives; of Switzerland, and when they had 
arrived at manhood in their native land, tliev hoth deter- 
mined to emigrate to America together, hut when they 
eonnted np their savings, it was fonnd that their fnnds 

were too small f'>r the ex- 
penses of hoth : so thevcast 
lots to decide which of the 
two shoidd go first, and 
the lot fell to Gallatin. 
He was to go and send the 
first moneys received hv 
him after arrivino' in 
An:erica, for his friend 
Badollet. (lallatin, being 
exce])tionally In'i'^ht and 
cnterprisiiig, Sdon was so 
•^nccessfnlas toaccnnnlate 
enongh monev to transnil 
to his delaved friend. In 
due time the two em- 
braced each other on 
.Vmerican soil, and for a 
time settled in business in Pennsylvania, bnt ere long they 
drifted apart. Badollet married and settled down, while 
Gallatin entered into politics, and soon became a factor in 
national affairs. Bnt they kept in close toiich with each 
other, and when ]\Ir. Gallatin was called to the cabinet of 
Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Badollet having removed to Vincennes, 
the latter, through the efforts of his friend Gallatin, secured 
the appointment of Kegister of the Land Office at Vin- 
cennes. His faithful service kept him in the same office 



for thirty-two years, and got the appointment of liis son 
to succeed him. Dr. H. Decker succeeded Albert G. Badol- 
Ict in April, 184^1:, who in turn was succeeded l>y John 
^[eyers in 1841 ; he by James S. Mayes, January, 1847 ; 
he by John C. Clark, June, 1849 ; he by John R. Jones, 
in May, 1853, and he by James S. Mayes, in September, 
1856. The office was closed June 12, 1850, but reopened 
by executive order April 23, 1853, when Jones received 
his appointment, and the office was finally closed December 
20, 1801. 

l^athaniel Ewing, one of the most distinguished early 
settlers, a man of commanding influence and wealth, and 
grandfather of our worthy fellow-toA\iisnian. the Honor- 
able W. L. Ewing, was the first Receiver of the Land Office, 
and was appointed in !May. 1807. He retained office under 
four iir five administrations, and until 1824, when he was 
succeeded bv J. C S. Harrison, son of Governor Harrison, 
February, 1824; he by John D. Wolverton. June, 1830: 
lie by James P. Drake, August, 1834: he by John Love. 
July. 1838; he by Thomas Scott, :\Lirch. 1841: he by 
Samuel "Wise, the imcle of our worthy fellow-citizens, 
Louis and John B. Wise, the only living male descendants 
of this numerous and prominent family of the early citi- 
zens of the town. Mr. Wise was succeeded by R. X. Car- 
nan, the father of our fellow-citizen, William Carnan ; he 
by John C. Heberd, uncle of the late William Heberd 
and closely related to many of our best citizens; ho by 
J. H. E. Sprinkle, in ]\Larch, 1858; he by George E. 
Green, former editor of the Yincennes Sun, and father of 
the ex-Ma vor. George E. Green, and he by Abner T. Ellis, 
•Lmunrv, 18(jl, who was. in earlv davs, one of the most 


distingiiislied citizens of Vincennes, and first President of 
tlie Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. He held the position 
only nntil December 20, 1861, when the office was finally 

In 1853 most of the pnblic domain in Indiana had been 
disposed of, and that was the reason assigned for the clos- 
ing' of the land office here at that time; bnt some swamp 
and hilly lands were yet owned by Uncle Sam, and the 
office was reopened Ijv execntive order to make a final dis- 
position of them. To facilitate the sale of these waste lands. 
Congress passed a special act, redncing the price of them to 
twelve and a half cents per acre. There were many supe- 
rior small tracts scattered over the State termed ''lost 
lands," Avliere no owners were visible, and many swamp 
lands that conld easily be reclaimed, hence there was soon 
a rnsh to the Vincennes Land Office. And soon there was 
done, in this city, triilv "a land office business"; for home- 
seekers and speculators crowded the office in real Okla- 
homa style, and but a few months elapsed until all the lands 
in the State wore entered, and Vincennes ceased to be the 
Mecca of land brokers. In less than fifty-five years nine- 
tenths of the wild Indian lands of this vast Indiana Terri- 
tory have been retrieved by the Caucasian race, through 
the hands of industry and thrift, and advanced to the pres- 
ent pinnacle of civilization, refinement and power, and 
until "Iloosierdom" is at a premium in science, literature 
and art. ' ' 



Woiulcrful ehaiii^cs liuvcj uccurrc'd in the postiil system 
since a postoffiec was first established in Vincennes. The 
first conmiunication between this phice and the land of 
civilization was through armed convoys, and at long inter- 
vals; then .came the "post rider" with his big saddle-l)ags 
and his tin li(irn, which he blew stentoriouslj on nearing a 
wayside inn, postal station or town. In the early part of 
the nineteenth century the post rider gave way, on main or 
State roads, to the old stage coach, which continued to be 
the vehicle of conveyance of the mail and travelers for a 
full half century, and until the steamboat and railroad 
supplanted and relegated it to the rear, much to the sorrow 
of many of the old inhabitants, who had been accustomed 
for so many years to listen to the patter of the hoofs of the 
horses pulling the swaying old coach, and listening to the 
stageman's horn music as it floated out on the summer 
evening's air, sounding over hill and valley. Its music 
was the courier bearing good news from the outer world, 
and tidings from tlie busy throngs within the hives- 
of civilization. I>ut progress marks the westward tide 
of empire, and old things and practices must sooner 
or later give way to the new in the process of evo- 
lution, though they, in so doing, bury forever the sweet- 
est memories of earlier years. In the new order of things, 
are the people happier now than then ? The elderly say 
that those were the happiest days of their lives, when there 
was an absence of conventionalism, when everybody knew 
everybody else, and society was untrameled, save by the 
laws of justice, virtue and love. In the beginning of the 


iiiueteentli century, when regular postal communication 
was established with the rest of the world, it required about 
six weeks to send and receive a reply to a letter in the 
East ; now they are sent and the answers received in about 
four days, or less time. 

The first postoffice established in Vincennes was when 
General W. Johnson, a distinguished and able man, and 
who has been noticed elsewhere, was appointed postmaster, 
on April 1, 1800. His successors have been the following, 
in the order named: Henry Hurst, April 1, 1802; Wm. 
B. Coupeland, July 1, 1802 ; William Prince, January 1, 
1803; General W. Johnson, July 1, 1803; William 
Prince, March 31, 1812; John D. Hay, July 1, 1813; 
George K. C. Sullivan, March 8, 1817 ; Samuel Hill, April 
5, 1827 ; John Scott, September 7, 1829 ; James W. Green- 
how, September 27, 1843; Elilm Stout, August 16, 1845; 
Lewis L. Watson, May 12, 1849; James Dick, March 26, 
1853; John Moore, April 6, 1857; Hubbard M. Smith, 
March 28, 1861; William Is^. Denny, April 8, 1869; 
William D. Lewis, Januaiy 30, 1882 ; James E. Kackley, 
May 26, 1885 ; Allen Tindolph, June 25, 1889 ; Koyal E. 
Purcell, April 8, 1893, and Thomas H. Adams, May 13, 
1897, Avho is the present incumbent, and who was reap- 
pointed May 13, 1902. 

The Vincennes office was a receiving and distributing 
depot for the whole jSForthwest for many years ; it received 
mail matter from adjacent offices when mail packages were 
made up for the important cities in the East. This office 
continued to be a distributing one, within circumscribed 
boundaries, as the ISTorth and West became settled, until 
about 1864, and the postmaster's salary was regulated by 


llic amount <:>f iiiattoi- liaiidlcil hv liini, he l)eiiig allnwcd 
a ])ei' cent, for roceiviiiu' and reniailing tlie postal matter. 
Al)oiit this time tlie hiw was cliauged and the office became 
a sahiried one, the amomit being reguhited and based upon 
the local business, and that law yet obtains. During the 
time that Hubbard ]\[. Smith held the position of post- 
master, the money order business was established, and the 
postmaster was allowed a small per cent, upon the number 
of orders issued, this being the only perquisite addi- 
tional to his salary. When the office Avas a per cent, 
one, unless the sum exceeded $5,000 per annum, the 
postmaster received only the per cent., let it be little or 
much, without any allowance for clerk hire ; if the business 
exceeded $5,000, then he received a $5,000 salary and 
clerk hire. This law was unjust and inequitable, and the 
postmaster had to pay out sometimes almost as nuich 
for assistants as his personal salary amounted to. During 
the Civil War, when the mails became heavy, $300 per 
annum was allowed for a clerk. The business demanded 
two assistants, and the postmaster was expected to make 
up the deficiencies for clerk hire from his own pocket. 
During the first years of the Civil War, the post 
master paid out nearly all he received from the Gov- 
ernment for the clerical force of the office, and a 
mere pittance remained for his own services. But 
about 1867, the postmaster, in making up his quarterly 
reports, added to his expense account the sum of $90 and 
the Department was kind and considerate enough to allow 
same in his annual settlement. This stretch of benevo- 
lence and justice did not show itself in all of the depart- 
ments of the Government. As a matter of history, the 


writer sliould add an additional word alioiit "sliin plas- 
ters," as our postal currency was denominated durini*- the 
Civil War. Soine of tlie old inhabitants will remember that 
after the war had well commenced, all g'old disappeared 
from circulation, and soon followed the disappearance of 
silver coin. The people were put to such straits for small 
change that a few men issued personal checks, from five 
cents up to fifty, one Watson, at Terre Haute, and one 
James, at Rockport, I think, supplying the demand. The 
Government at last came to the rescue and issued postal 
currency of the denominations of five, ten, twenty-five and 
fifty cents. A batch of $G,000 was sent to the postmaster 
here and he was held responsible for same, in good money, 
whether it was burned or stolen. It was to be given out to 
business men for greenbacks, as change. It did not prove 
a bonanza to the postmaster. But the tale is too long to tell 
and I will only cite the reader to what was one of his 
"tales of woe" incident thereto. In those days the older 
citizens will remember that the only money in circulation 
was greenbacks and postal currency, individual promissory 
notes, and counterfeit bills were not infrequent ; and all 
mutilated bills, whether treasury notes or postal bills, were 
required to be accepted for postage stamps by the post- 
master, he being ordered so tO' do, and to transmit the same 
by mail to the Treasurer of the United States, who was to 
return a draft in exchange for same to the postmaster. 
Postmaster Smith, by order, was compelled to comply with 
this unjust ruling, as will be shown. He was fortunate 
in getting equivalents back after transmissions generally, 
Init he was "left with the pouch to hold" on one batch sent 
off t the amount of $13. Although sent from his office in 


a Ihrough brass Im-k pouch fur Indianapolis, the mail train 
was burned on which this ponch was being- carri(;d, and 
because UO' speck of the bills was found by the special mail 
agent, W. ]^. Tyner, refusal w^as made of payment to the 
postmaster. It was proved by witnesses that the money 
was mailed, and that it was wholly burned, but because no 
vestige of the bills was found, Uncle Sam, who "is rich 
enough to give us all a farm," through his overscrupulous 
Secretary of the Treasury, Spinner, denied justice to the 
postmaster. After many years, wdien principal and interest 
amounted to nearly $100, the congressman from the Vin- 
cennes district succeeded in getting a bill for reimburse- 
ment before the House to the point of having it printed, 
and there it stuck. Correspondents all over the country 
took up the case, and all said a long deferred just bill was 
about to be paid l)y the Government, in which opinion they 
lamentably erred. "Corporations have no souls," it is said, 
and the only consolation that the then postmaster now has 
left to him in his declining years is the knowledge of his 
having stock in the father of all corporations — the United 
S!;ates Government — and he can advisedly say, "this is 
my Government," if he is but a small junior partner. 

The writer's first experience in postage tax, Avhere the 
amount was paid in money (it being prior to the time of 
stamps), and according to the distance the letter was car- 
ried, when under GOO miles, and near that, it was tw^enty- 
five cents per half ounce. Not having sent letters a dis- 
tance exceeding 600 miles, the highest cost to him was that 
sum from Kentucky to Missouri. What a drop in post- 
age, from twenty -five cents for 600 miles, to five cents 
from San Francisco to Euroi)e, a distance of at least 6,000 
miles ! Penny postage is the next step in postal progression. 

Chapter V. 


VINCENNES, being one of the first settled towns 
in the West, earlv became an important base for 
military operations, and especially during the 
close of the eighteenth centur}'. The United States 
Government, having permanently possessed this region 
through the foresight and brilliant strategy of General 
George Rogers Clark, in 1779, it soon became the 
seat of the Territorial Government, whose jurisdiction 
embraced much of the Northwest, including Illinois 
and Michigan. The influx of population, following the 
organization of a Territorial Government, at this 
point, esj)ecially of the enterprising educated class of 
peojjle, brought it into such prominence that the establish- 
ment of a seat of learning was soon determined on, and 
Congress was petitioned to, and did, on March 4, 1804, set 
apart one entire toAvnship of land for th^ benefit of a 
seminaiy of learning in the Vincennes land district, and 
the Secretary of the United States Treasury, on October 
10, 1806, selected and set apart Township ISTo. 2, south 
range eleven west, situated in Gibson county. In pursuance 
thereof, and to carry out the intention of Congress, the 
Territorial Legislature of Indiana passed an act November 
29, 1806, and supplemented the same by an act passed 
September 17, 1807, incorporating the Vincennes Uni- 
versity in the name and style of ''Board of Trustees for the 



Vincennes University," and recognized it as the recipient 
and beneficiary of the aforesaid gift of huids donated by 
Congress. This act of the Territorial Conncil and Honse of 
Representatives ordained, "that an university be and is 
hereby instituted and incorporated, within this territory, to 
be called and known by the name and style of the Vin- 
cennes University, and that Wm. Henry Harrison, John 
Gibson, Thomas M. Davis, Henry Vanderburgh, Waller 
Taylor, Benjamin Parke, Peter Jones, Samuel Johnson, 
John Badollet, John Rice Jones, Geo. Wallace, William 
Bullitt, Elias McNamee, Henry Hurst, Geo. Johnson, 
Francis Vigo, Jacob Kuykendall, Samuel McKee, ISTa- 
thaniel Ewing, Geo. Leach, Luke Decker, and Samuel 
Gwatluney are hereby declared to be the trustees of said 
University, and the said trustees and their successors be, 
and they are hereby created, a body corporate and politic 
by the name of the Board of Trustees for the Vincennes 
University, and are hereby ordained, established, and de- 
clared to be forever hereafter a body politic and corporate 
in fact and in name and by that name they, and their 
successors, shall and may have continual succession and 
shall be persons in law capable of suing and being sued, 
pleading and being impleaded, answering and being an- 
swered, defending and being defended in all courts and 
places whatever, and that they and their successors may 
have a common seal and make and alter the same at their 
pleasure, also that the said trustees shall not at any time 
hold or possess more than 100,000 acres of land." This 
act emphasized the broad and liberal heartiness with which 
the J^egislature entered into and sanctioned the idea of 
Congress in its aim to build up at Vincennes a great educa- 


tional institution. The general Government having passed 
an act to give a second township of land for the same pur- 
pose (locating it in Monroe connty), the Indiana Legis- 
lature evidently intended, at that time, to apply the pro- 
ceeds of this second township of land to the upbuilding of 
the Vincennes University, as evidenced by the provisions 
in the act restricting the institution from acquiring more 
tlian 100,000 acres of land. This inference is a clearly le- 
gitimate and reasonable one. An additional evidence that 
the Territorial Legislature intended that this school should 
be the leading one of the State may be found in the liberal 
and extensive provisions of its charter. It not only pro- 
vided for a collegiate course of study, embracing literature 
and the sciences, but gave it the right to establish chairs of 
law, medicine and theology ; also granting it the right to 
confer degrees, in the several departments, to stiidents and 
eminent scholars. It also empowered the board of trustees 
to establish a grammar school and a female department, 
also requiring the board to receive into the institution any 
Indian scholars 'Svho, when sent, shall l)e maintained, 
clothed and educated at the expense of said institution." 
To accomplish this, small donations would have lieen inade- 
quate, and hence the inevitable conclusion that both town- 
ships of land in Gibson and Monroe counties were intended 
for the use of the Vincennes University. Any other con- 
clusion must presuppose that the members of Congress and 
the Legislature knew" but little of the expensive require- 
ments of such an institution, which was certainly not the, 
case. In the act incorporating the University, under the 
management of a lioard of tnistees, power was given them 
by CongTcss to "sell, transfer, convey and dispose of any 


quantity not exceeding 4,000 acres of said lant/' which 
they proceeded to do, by sale and lease, after the organiza- 
tion of the board of trustees, which elected Governor Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison, president ; James Johnson, treas- 
urer, and General W. Johnson, clerk, after wdiicli appropri- 
ate committees were appointed to carry out the intentions 
of Congress and the Legislature by the establishment of 
a University. The committee on building selected two par- 
cels of land, adjoining, from Henry Vanderburgh and 
Colonel Francis Vigo, forming nearly four squares, and be- 
ing bounded by Perry, Sixth, Hart and Fourth streets, 
the finest and most suitable locality in the borough for the 
college ground. At this early period building material was 
scarce and expensive, contractors were few and the reve- 
nue from the lands slow in being realized ; which facts 
greatly handicapped the trustees in their action. It was 
not until April 10, 1811, that the large two-story brick 
building, located in the center of the plot of ground, was 
tcnantablo and available for school purposes, when the 
Keverend Samuel T. Scott, a Presbyterian minister, was 
selected to open and take charge of an English school 
therein. The small revenue from the sale of the lands, 
having been consumed in the purchase of ground and the 
erection of the building, and more funds being needed to 
finish and equip the school, as well as to pay teachers, the 
board petitioned Congress, April 16, 1816, to permit it to 
sell the remaining 19,000 acres of the Gibson county lands, 
liut ihc coiinrnttce to whom the imittcr was referred report- 
ed adversely, saying ''it is inexpedient to sell at this time." 
In 1818 the trnstees repetitioned Congress for pennission 
to sell the lands at not less than $10 per acre (as they 


needed the funds to build up the school) at public auction, 
but the petition \\as rejected. Although hampered by lack 
of funds the school was making fair progress, its trustees 
and friends being 1 moved up with the hope and ex}3ectation 
that at no distant day thev w(nild realize from the renting 
of its lands a sutficient endowment fund to meet the ex- 
penses incident t(^ its growth and increased educational 
necessities, lint, with the passing years and the increase 
in population in the eastern and northern parts of the 
State, a jealousy sprang up from these sections against the 
southern portion of the State which was soon manifested 
by legislative action against the Vincennes University, the 
same influences acting that caused the removal of the seat 
of government of the Territory from Vincennes to Cory- 
don. On the I'Otli day of January, 1820, Bloomington 
College "was given a charter, and. quickly following this 
action, on the 2.')d of January, 1820, the Legislature, as- 
suming that the State, in its organized capacity, owned 
the Vincennes University lauds, donated to the University 
by special act of ( 'ongress, passed an act a]i])oiuting com- 
missioners to take possession of said lands and rent them 
and turn the proceeds into the State Treasury. Tluis it oc- 
curred, without a vestige of legal right, equity or law, that 
the remaining 10,000 acres of unsold land of the Univer- 
sity were wrested from the trustees by force, under the 
claim of State inheritance. But it will be seen that the 
solons had some (piahiis of conscience about tliis higli- 
iianded procedure of a])i)ro])riating these lands, for they 
took stcjis to give the Stat(> tlie semblance of a title to 
tliem tlirongh an attempt, by legislation, to olditerate the 
University from existence. Tn oi'der tf) acconiplisli this 


purpose, in 1824 an act was passed attempting to trans- 
form the University into a new creature under the name 
and style of the "Knox County Seminary." By this act 
Vincennes University was deprived of its lands, building, 
apparatus, furniture, and even its book of record. By this 
unjust procedure the University was compelled to give up 
all its possessions and be transformed into an institution 
entirely foreign to the hind contem]'>lated by Congress, and 
thus, for the time l)eiug, tlie Vinconncs University, on 
April 24, 1824, passed under the baleful shadow of wrong 
and injustice. In this metamorphosis into the ''Knox 
County Seminary" it was stipulated by the Legislature 
that the institution should be under the control of the old 
board of trustees of the LTniversity; but they paid little 
attention to the mandate, and an intcr-regiium of four 
3^ears exists between the enactment of this law, attempting 
to disfranchise the University, and the hrst meeting of the 
Knox County Seminary trustees, Avhich occurred October 
3, 1828. The blow dealt the University in 1824 gave Vin- 
cennes educators a backset, and they did not take kindly 
to the new institution. The power, privileges and responsi- 
bilities having been taken from the old board of trustees, 
they ceased to be active in educational matters, and the 
new board (which did not meet until 1828, four years after 
dispossessing the old board) acted with very little spirit. 
In this connection it would be well to state, for a full un- 
derstanding of the conditions existing, that there appears 
to have been a dual board of trustees, as will be evidenced 
later, the old lioard continuing its existence, although there 
are no c<intinuous records to show the fact, their record- 
book hnviiiu' l)een taken bv the new board. In the mean- 


time, during' this hiatus, the school building-, having never 
been completed, was deteriorating for want of care to s)ich 
an extent that squatters took possession and continued to 
occupj it at will, tilling it up with household goods, using 
the campus for the pasturage of animals and the basement 
ac a stable for horses. The State, having appropriated the 
incoine of the University to Blooming-ton, said to^ its Knox 
County Seminary trustees: ''ISTow, you take possession of 
the University building and its property and make the 
Seminary flourish." It gave them nothing to endow it, nor 
even complete the buildings, yet expected miracles of edu- 
cation to be wrought. To show that the ]3icture is not over- 
drawn relative to the Knox County Seminary building as 
rechristened, I quote from its board's record of a meeting 
held on January 22, 1831. On motion of John Holland, a 
new trustee, it was "Resolved, That from and after this 
date, there shall not be allowed any family, person or per- 
sons, to occupy any part of the house except those who 
are engaged in the business of teaching, and the scholars. 
iS^either shall there be allowed any horse, cow or liofj. or any 
otlier animal whatsoever, to run at large in said Seminary 
lot, or be kept in any of tlie lower rooms, called the cellar, 
to the injury of the lot or cellar rooms." And from tlie 
wording- of another resolution offered at the same meeting, 
one would infer that the building- contained a pandemo- 
nium where blue, white, black and gray spirits often held 
liigh carnival. It reads: "And, be it further Resolved, 
That a committee of three be appointed Avhose duty it shall 
be to visit the Seminary as frequently as the affairs and 
business of the institution may require, to hear and de- 
termine all uuitters of dispute and to preserve good order 


generally in or about the house and preservation of the 
lot." This condition of the institution was but a natural 
sequence of ill-advised and unjust legislative action. 

"The Knox County Seminary," masquerading in the 
habiliments of the Yincennes University, maintained a 
] -'ecarious existence during the next few years ; its new 
board of trustees having no heart in the project, held no 
meetings from October, 1832, until June, 1835, during 
which year they met but once, and the next and last meet- 
ing was held. on August 25, 1836, when it ceased to be an 
active body, although it held control of the Seminary build- 
ing and grounds. The new board ceasing to be a factor in 
educational work and the State having failed to extinguish 
the University, the latter's board resumed the office taken 
from them in 1824 and reorganized June 11, 1838. The 
Reverend Alexander was elected president and George R. 
Gibson secretary. (As they had been robbed of their en- 
do'Avment, they had no use for a treasurer.) Having par- 
tially recovered from the embarrassment, as a result of the 
State's unjust action, the board reasserted itself, and at its 
first meeting appointed a committee to recover the old rec- 
ords and require the board of trustees of the borough of 
Vincennes to render an account of the disposition of the 
funds of the commons land (arising from its sale) above 
the amount necessary to drain an adjacent pond, authorized 
by Congress April 20, 1818. At the next meeting of the 
University board of trustees, October 5, 1839, Honorable 
A. T. Ellis, a delegate from and in behalf of the "Knox 
County Seminary" board, appeared and relinquished all 
claim to the ground and building, thereby acknowledging 
that his board had no legal right to the property. 


During the time the building- was in the possession of 
the Seminary board it deteriorated and debts had accumu- 
lated against the property, and he then recommended that 
the University board of trustees adopt some plan to liquid- 
ate the claims against the property and of preventing fur- 
ther dilapidation of the building. Thus it was that the orig- 
inal University board of trustees, after a lapse of fifteen 
years, resumed control of some of its property which legis- 
lative action had deprived it of in 1824. In the interval 
between the time of dispossession and restoration debts had 
accumulated against the Universit}^ to the amount of 
$1,830.40, and the assets of the "Knox County Seminary" 
were nil. After deliberation on the institution's financial 
condition, it was deemed wise to lease or sell the property 
to meet the indebtedness. A proposition was received from 
the president of St. Gabriel's College to purchase, and the 
same was accepted, and for the sum of $6,500 the holdings 
of the University passed into the hands of the Catholics of 
Vincennes. Upon the receipt of funds, by the sale of the 
property, the board of trustees took steps to purchase an- 
other lot with a view toward erecting a smaller building in 
which to start a grammar school. In the meantime they 
rjnted a brick building near the corner of Fifth and Mar- 
ket (now ]\rain) streets, and secured the services, July, 
1840, of the Reverend B. B. Killikelly, an Episcopal min- 
ister, to take charge, with Mr. Chestnut as assistant 
teacher. Lot 191, corner Fifth and Busseron streets, on 
which the present University building now stands, was 
purchased of Dr. Hiram Decker for $500. The Reverend 
Killikelly remained in charge of the institution until July, 
1842, when he tendered his resignation for the purpose of 


visiting Europe in the interests of his church and uni- 
versity. During the legislative session of 1843 a l>ill was 
passed authorizing the board doing county business in 
Knox county to seize on all the assets of the University. 
But it seems that this law proved a dead letter, as no such 
procedure was attempted or accomplished. The University 
board entered a protest and engaged legal counsel to defend 
the institution's rights. Soon after a committee was ap- 
pointed, May, 1843, to take steps looking to the erection 
of a school Ijuilding, but the matter was subsequently aban- 
doned, for the time being, for the want of funds. In the 
following June the board met and appointed a committee 
whose duty it was to recover, if possible, the Gibson 
county lands. Before taking any decisive step the opinion 
of Chancellor James Kent was sought, and, in December, 
1843, the board authorized the Honorable Samuel Judah 
to collate the facts and laws relating to the right of the 
University to these lands and send them to Judge Kent for 
a legal opinion on the same. The chancellor, after examin- 
ing all the acts of Congi-ess and the Ijegislature of Indiana 
on the subject, sent an elaborate and exliaustive opinion in 
favor of the University's contention, saying, in conclusion : 
"I am of the opinion that the Legislature of Indiana is 
bound by the most imperious obligations of justice and 
honor to indemnify the University for this unconstitu- 
tional arrest and detention of their property." Encouraged 
by such eminent legal authority, as to the rights of the 
University, the board of trustees authorized Samuel Judah 
and A. T. Ellis to prosecute its claims to the Gibson county 
lauds, and suits were entered against the occupants. 
This action created consternation and excitement, as the 


holders were innocent purchasers, and a small rebellion 
was inaugurated and violence was threatened to the attcr- 
n3ys of the University if they persisted in the prosecution 
of the suits, the only recourse left to the trustees for re- 
dress, as they could not sue the State. After some prelimi- 
nary litigation an understanding was reached between the 
contesting attorneys, to the effect that the Senators and 
Representatives from Knox and Gibson counties should se- 
cure the passage of an act giving permission to the Uni- 
versity board to bring suit agaiubt the State in the Marion 
County Circuit Court to determine the right of ownership 
of said lands. This bill was passed in 1846, and the l>oard's 
attorneys were authorized to bring suit at once. The caae 
was tried and the Clarion County jury awarded the Uni- 
versity $;30,09G.GG for that part of the lands the State had 
already sold. The State appealed the case to the Supreme 
Court, which reversed this decision at the spring term, 
1850. An appeal was then taken to the Supreme Court 
of the United States by the attorneys for the University, 
and, in 1852, that court set aside the action of the Indiana 
Supreme Court, holding that the lands belonged to the 
University. In the deliveiy of the opinion of the court, the 
Chief Justice said: "The claim is a just one, and if the 
reservations of these lands had been judiciously managed 
they would have constituted a fund at this time (1852) 
of $200,000." After this decision the State of Indiana 
made another effort to deprive the University of its charter 
and secured the services of five of the best lawyers in the 
State to gain its purpose. They attempted to show that the 
University board of trustees had lost its chai'ter through 
neglect, l>ut it was found tliat there was no evidence to 


show that, tlio charter ''had ever been forfeited by any act 
or omission of the board/' and that the corporation had 
been in a state of continuity ever since the organization, 
the University board having been appointed by the Legis- 
lature to assume control of the "Knox County Seminary," 
the succession was maintained unbroken. This last attempt 
to extinguisli the Vincennes University failed. Having 
forcibly seized the lands, lot, buildings, furniture, appa- 
ratus and even its records, so if possible to blot it out of 
existence ; having tried to discourage, demoralize and scat- 
ter, by circumstances and death, the members of the board, 
thus seeking to make a break in the succession, and thereby 
make void tlie charter, was an act of unjust procedure. 

Baffled in this last effort to destroy the University, the 
Legislature in 1855 passed an indemnifying act, for the 
benefit of the University, which was less than one-tenth of 
its indebtedness. 

The Knox County Seminary, having no funds with 
which to build a schoolhouse, borrowed some of the money 
arising out of the sale of their building from the Univer- 
sity trustees, and erected a house on the latter's lot, mort- 
gaging the property for payment of same. The mortgaged 
debt maturing, the house was sold, and reverted to the 

It was in this building the academic department was re- 
instated in 1856, with the Keverend R. M. Chapman presi- 
dent, since which time the school has been in successful 
operation. In the same 3'ear the trustees bought the lot di- 
agonally across the street (corner Fifth and Busseron), and 
for $2,300 erected a building to be used as a female de- 
partment. This building was conducted successfully for 


some time, but several years later the schools were consoli- 
dated in the brick building. To resmne the line of history 
of the contention of the University with the State, it was 
after a half century of enforced litigation by the former, 
in defense of its rights, its lands and its franchises, caus- 
ing thereby the expenditure of large sums of money in the 
way of court and attorneys' fees and the enforced sacrifices 
of its buildings and gi-ounds, that the Legislature doled 
out, not what the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of 
the United States declared was due the Vincennes Univer- 
sity, i. e., $200,000, but State bonds to the amount of $66,- 
565 for lands already sold. This did not account for 2,200 
acres of land unsold (and not accounted for to this day), 
and was not a tithe of the indebtedness. 

After the long and costly fight for its rights it gained a 
victory of $41,565, inclusive of the court and attorneys' 
fees arising out of the original contract. Subtracting the 
amount of court and attorneys' fees in obtaining the latter 
settlement, the institution in fact realized not two-thirds 
of the award. It will be observed that after nearly half a 
century of contention for the magnificent endowment given 
by Congress, this small pittance w^as turned into the treas- 
ury of the University, as restitution money. In 1878, hav- 
ing well husbanded the money received from the State, and 
the school having outgrown its home, it was resolved l^y the 
trustees to erect a more modern and commodious building 
on its ground, the site of the ''Knox County Seminary," 
which would be more suitable to the wants of advanced edu- 
cation. The present beautiful structure was completed in 
August, 1878, at a total cost of $14,616. The school pros- 
pered and the building was soon found inadequate to ac- 


conniiodate the patronage of additional students. As a re- 
sult, in 1889, and at a cost of $4,180, an addition to the 
south and west end was erected. The War Department, 
having designated the Vincennes University as one of the 
institutions where military science might be taught, an 
officer was detailed for this instruction, and, so successful 
had this branch proved, that, when war was declared with 
Spain, in 1898, he had organized a full company of ca- 
dets, well drilled and fidly equipped to enter into the fight 
for maintaining the prestige and honor of our country. 
This was the first volunteer company to offer its services 
to the Governor of the State, and the only full company 
of cadets sent by any State institution of leaniing in the 
Union to engage in the Spanish War. The company of 
University cadets formed a part of the 159th Regiment of 
Indiana Volunteers and was in sendee for one year, 
although they were not sent to the front on account of the 
speedy conclusion of the war. This was the first oppor- 
tunity the University had to return in any degi'ee the fa- 
vors shown it by the Government for its magnificent dona- 
tion in 1806, and the episode will be recorded as one of 
the brightest in its history. 

From time to time the Legislature has been petitioned 
for redress, but without avail until 1895, when an appropri- 
ation was made for $15,000, for which the State exacted a 
receipt in full of all demands from the University. As 
this sum did not pay the debt it was not accepted by the 
University, as an adequate settlement of the claim, and the 
Honorable Basil Gaither, Knox County's Representative, 
entered a formal protest, in behalf of the institution, to 
giving a receipt in full, and the protest was recorded in tlie 


House -lounial of tlio Fiftv-iiinth (leiieral Assembly. In 
the Sixtieth General Assembly, 1897, another bill was in- 
troduced for an additional sum with a view toward liqui- 
datino- the State's indebtedness to the University, but the 
appropriatidu \\as defeated by a small majority. Willi the 
intention of liquidating the State debt to the University, 
the Sixty-first General Assembly, in ^[areh, 1899, passed 
a bill authorizing an issue of -i per cent, bonds for $120,- 
000, ])ayable in twenty years. This lull was passed by 
almost a unanimous vote in the Senate, there being only 
four votes against it. The House passed it by 64 ayes. 29 
nays. Through some misinfonuatioii, or lack of a full 
knowledge of the real merit of the claim. Governor James 
A. Mount failed to sign the bill, and in the closing hours 
of the session the matter was referred to the next General 
Assenddy, and, at the suggestion of the Governor, the presi- 
dent of the Senate appointed a conmuttee of three to ex- 
amine into the merits of the claim and report the facts to 
the next succeeding Legislature. 

The committee of the Senate appointed examined the 
claims of the University during vacation, and reported 
favorably, and the bill came up again the following session, 
in ]\rarch, 1901, and passed the Senate by a vote of 30 to 
1."). The House connuittee to which the bill had been re- 
ferred strangled it, and it was never reported to the House 
for fear of its passage. Economy in this case usurped the 
place of justice, which must and will eventually prevail. 
The indebtedness of the State to the University, when this 
bill was presented, amounted to $703,695. It will be seen 
from the foregoing facts and figiires, which can not be suc- 
cessfully controverted, that the great and prosperous State 


of Indiana is indebted to its first born edncational institn- 
tion, which it warmed into life, then abandoned, after con- 
fiscating its inheritance, and has to the present time held 
back the dispensing hand of justice, and hesitates to re- 
store its rights npon the score of economy or that the indebt- 
edness is too old to pay. Honesty, trnth and right are eter- 
nal principles, nninflnenced by time or circnmstances, and 
will perish only with eternity. The University does not 
ask a donation, bnt pleads for only partial restoration of 
what is its due. 

The State is not too poor to pay its debts, as it gives 
more than $200,000 annually to three institutions of learn- 
ing; and, during Governor Mount's term of office, Leopold 
Levy paid immatured bonds to the amount of nearly $700,- 
000, ignoring for the time an old sacred del)t. Governor 
Mount had a laudable ambition in trying to make his ad- 
ministration an economical one; but if $120,000 had been 
deducted from the amount paid bondholders and applied 
toward liquidating the University debt (as recommended 
by both the Senate and the House) the sum total of the 
canceled indebtedness would have been the same as it now 
stands. The State should be just first, and generous when 
able to be so. 

In 1898, realizing the necessity for more room to accom- 
modate the growing patronage, the trustees purchased the 
adjoining lot, number 190, facing on Broadway, from A. 
Gimbel heirs, at a cost of $7,000, hoping to soon add a 
wing to the main building which would contain a large 
room suitable for an armory. Besides providing for more 
students by this purchase, the grounds are now enlarged 
to a full half square, surrounded by and ornamented with 


l>eaiitiful shade trees, most of which were planted in 

Since the above was written the old Decker property has 
been acquired by the University, giving it still larger 
gi'ounds for its use, for the sum of $4,350. All that is now 
lacking to have the Vincennes University enlarged and 
thoroughly equipped is the payment by the gi-eat and rich 
commonwealth of Indiana of its just and long-deferred 
dues. The University will then assert its power, and, with 
dignity, can take up its line of march abreast of the age, 
in all the branches of literature and art that beautify and 
enrich our civilization and our State. By such payment 
the State will have lifted from its shoulders a debt almost 
criminal in its effects, and enjoy the sweet peace of con- 
science in the act of having performed a long-delayed duty 
to tli^ first established educational institution in the West ; 
f.nd where our country's flag was first planted and, unfurl- 
ing, was first kissed by the glowing lips of American Lib- 

The University, although entitled by its charter to con- 
fer degi-ees on its graduates and persons »vho have distin- 
g-uished themselves in the field of literature, has been chary 
in the exercise of this right, and up to this time only two 
honorary degrees have been conferred; the first of D. D., 
in 1842, upon one of its former presidents, the Reverend 
Killikelly, and the other, LL. D., in 1857, upon a former 
professor in the institution, the Reverend W. H. Carter. 
It still withheld printed recognition from its own pupils 
until 1874, when four students, having completed success- 
fully the course of study allotted to them, received di- 
plomas as evidence of their scholarship, and since that time 


the custom of g'iviug (li|)l(iiiias lias dhtainc*!. It has a«l- 
vanced its staiulard of scliolarsliip, as its funds would per- 
mit the employment of qualified teachers, and in 1884 the 
board of trustees decided that no gTade of instruction he- 
low the academic would be end>raced in its curriculum of 
study. As a result of this course, and thorough equipment, 
when the pupils receive their diplomas in the classic or 
scientific departments they are prepared to and do enter, 
without examination, any Western college as a junior. 
With the expectation of increased facilities, the Univer- 
sity will soon be able to throw off the last of the shackles 
which have impeded its progress, and take rank with its 
more fortunate sisters, who have not had to walk thi'ough 
the valley and the shadow of death. It will then become 
what Congress and the Territorial Legislature intended it 
should be when its patrimony and charter were given, a 
university in the fullest meaning of the word. In closing 
this sketch of the Vincennes University much credit is due 
— more than they ever will receive — to the competent, 
faithful, indefatigable men who have ever formed the 
board of trustees. 

In their long line of march, covering a period of ninety- 
six years, as one would fall along the way, by the stroke 
of time or circumstances, another volunteer would take his 
place. This with the knowledge that his only remuneration 
would be the consciousness of having perfonned his duty 
in aiding the advancement of education and civilization, 
the beneficiaries being the young of the passing and future 
generations. During all these years, amid all the vicissi- 
tudes through which the institution has passed, no treas- 
urer has defaulted to the amount of a single penny, and the 


funds have been husbanded in the most businesslike man- 
ner. Time and talents have been lavished on the institution 
which would have brought to acting members of the board 
thousands of dollars if employed in business engagements. 
Some of the most distinguished men in national affairs 
have been on the roll of honor of the University's board 
of trustees. On that roll will be found the names of one 
President of the LTnited States, several members of Con- 
gress, celebrated jurists, judges, clergymen, officials of the 
United States Goveniment, authors, physicians, bankers, 
merchants, editors, mechanics and capitalists — men from 
all walks of life who have kept in close touch with the peo- 
ple in the progress of science, art and literature. Xoither 
would this sketch be complete without according a place of 
honor to the long roll of distinguished men of learning 
who have graced and filled so well the o<ffice of president 
of the University, from its foundation to this year of grace 
1902. In this list there could be named many distinguished 
divines and professors of science and literature, who have, 
since leaving the institution, filled and are now occu})ying 
professorships in many colleges. 

In the interests of the present generation and pros- 
perity, and as no attem|)t has as yet been made to preserve 
many facts unknown to the general public and which soon 
would be lost in the flight of tlie passing years, I have as- 
sumed the task, in connection with this sketch, to record 
statistics relating thereto. I l^elieve them to be practically 
correct, although some omission may have accidentally oc- 
curred, owing to imperfect records in the misty past. 



Names of the presidents of Vincennes University and 
the time of their inauguration : 

1811. Keverend Samuel T. Scott. 

1815. Professor Jesse Olds. 

1818. Professor Jean Jean. 

1823. Reverend Henry Shaw. 

1840. Reverend B. B. Killikelly, D. D. 

1845. Reverend Geo. B. Jocelyn. 

1850. Professor Matthews, A. M. 

1855. Reverend R. M. Chapman, D. D. 

1867. Reverend O. C. Drake, A. M. 

1868. Professor James M. Naylor, A. M. 
1870. Reverend Geo. Parrott, A. M. 
1872. Professor Louis Prugh, A. M. 

1881. Professor E. A. Haight. 

1882. Professor Pitt L. McCreary. 

1883. Professor Enoch A. Bryan, A. M. 
1893. Professor Edward P. Cubberly, A. M. 
1896. Professor A. H. Yoder, A. M. 

1900. Professor W. H. Hershman, A. M. 

1902. Professor James E. Manchester, B.S., D.Sc. 

(Jthcers of the board of trustees of the Vincennes Uni- 
versity from its foundation, December 6, 1806, to Decem- 
ber, 1902, and when elected: 

1806. General William Henry Harrison, Presi- 
1806. General George W. Johnson, Secretary. 
1806. James Johnson, Treasurer, 


1811. Benjamin Parke, President. 
1813. Reverend Samuel Scott, Treasurer. 

1812. George Gibson, Secretary. 
1838. A. T. Ellis, President. 

1838. Eeverend Thomas Alexander. President. 

1839. Samuel Hill, President. 
1820. ]\[oses Tabbs, President. 

1838. Samuel Judah, Secretary. 

1839. William Burtch, Treasurer. 
1853. Isaac Mass, Treasurer. 

1850. Doctor John R. Mantle, President. 

1841. Doctor W. W. Hitt, President. 

1853. George D. Hay, Secretary. 

1855. Doctor Joseph Somes, Secretary. 

1864. Harrison T. Roseman, Secretary. 

1865. Doctor J. H. Rabb, Treasurer. 
1855. William Burtch, reelected Treasurer. 
1867. Doctor R. G. Moore, President. 
1878. Smiley K. Chambers, Secretary. 
•1889. W. B. Robinson, Secretary. 

1888. J. L. Bayard, Treasurer. 
1897. Hubbard M. Smith, President. 

Present Corps of Teachers : 

James Eugene Manchester, B. S. ,D. Sc. (Tue- 
bingen) ; President and Professor of Mathe- 

Oscar M. Duncan, B. S., A. M., Professor of N'at- 
ural Science. 

Thomas J. Davis, A. B., Professor of English. 

Charles H. McLawry, A. B., A. M., Professor of 
Greek and Latin. 


• Margaret Manchester^ Professor of Modern Lan 
]^. K. Flint, Principal Bnsiuess Department. 
Cecelia Ray Berry, Director of Music. 
Ida Margaret Berry, Principal Vocal Department. 

Board of Trustees: Hubbard M. Smith, M. D., Presi- 
dent ; W. B. Robinson, Attomey-at-Law, Secretary ; J. L. 
Bayard, President First National Bank, Treasurer; Wal- 
ter M. Hindman, Dental Surgeon; Edward H. Smith, 
hardware ; W. C. Johnson, Attorney-at-Law ; Judge Ray 
Gardner, Washington, Tnd. ; James W. Emison, Attorney- 
at-Law ; Charles Bierhaus, wholesale grocer ; S. ]^. Cham- 
bers, Ex-Fnited States Attorney, Indianapolis ; H. A. 
Foulks, Esq. ; T. H. Adams, Editor Commercial and Post- 
master; Royal E. Purcell, Editor Sun; Major W. P. 
Gould, Paymaster Fnited States Army. 


St. Gabriel's College was established in 1837, by the 
Reverend John August Vabret, who brought with him to 
this town a colony from Rennes, France, called Eudists. 
He purchased the Fniversity of Vincennes property in 1839 
and used the building as his school. He was succeeded as 
president by the Reverend John P. Bellier, in 1840. The 
school was maintained until 1845, Avhen it was closed by 
an order from the Superior-General of the Eudists. The 
buildiug was then occupied as an orphan asylum, and, 
afterward, by St. Rose Academy of Providence, under 
the management of Sister C^yrilla, until it was replaced by 
the present fine and commodious building, accommodat- 


ing 275 pupils. St. Vincent Orphan Asylum being built 
two and a half miles south of the city, the orphans were 
transferred to it, and one hundred are domiciled there, 
under Sister M. Carmel, a Sister of Providence. St. Vin- 
cent Orphan Asylum Avas built first in 1847. It was 
used at first as a diocesan seminary for boys, but it is now 
used also as an asylum for l)oys, since the erection of the 
present fine building, wliicli was built in 1864. It con- 
tains a chapel and is served by a pastor. 

St. Ann's Orphan Asylum for Girls was situated near 
the cathedral. In 1849 it was removed to Terre Haute. 

In addition to the schools noted, one is connected with 
St. Xavier's Church, with one lay teacher and two Sisters 
of Providence, and embraces 250 pupils; and another 
parochial school connected with St. John the Baptist 
Church, ini(k'r tlie supervision of Reverend Aleinrad 
Fleischnmn, and fonr Sisters of Providence, by whom 
215 pupils arc taught, 


The common school system may be said to have been in- 
augurated in \^incennes not before 1850, and then only in 
a feeble manner. The sentiment of the State before this 
period was against laws levying a tax for the support of 
free schools. When the present Constitution of the State 
was adopted, the right to inaugurate the common school 
system was acquiesced in by the people generally and soon 
efficient free school laws were enacted, and then public 
schools were established all over the State. The Legisla- 
ture, in 1824, made an attempt to blot out of existence 


the Vinceimes University, the first educational iiistitiition 
"established in this State, throngh and by its Territorial 
Legislature, endowed by Congress with one or more town- 
ships of land, by the establishment of a free school in this 
county under the title of the "Knox County Seminary." 
But as it appropriated the proceeds of the sale of the Uni- 
versity lands to establish Blooming'ton College, the effort 
proved an utter failure, and the "Knox County Seminary" 
died of inanitiou, the Legislature having failed to provide 
for the school's support. Hence for nearly a half century, 
and not until the State grudgingly had been compelled, 
after long and expensive legislation, to^ make a partial res- 
titution to the University, was there an effective revival of 
education in this town. 

In 1853 the public school system was fully inaugurated 
here by and through the trustees elected by the people, 
composed of George D. Hay, John W. Canon and Lambert 
Burrois. For lack of funds the schools were inefficient, and 
even in 1855 only three months' tuition was vouchsafed 
to tlie pupils. In 1857 the duration of the school year was 
extended to five months, with Anson W. Jones as princi- 
pal, at a salary of only $50 per month. In 1860 the first 
school building was erected (now known as the Central 
School) at the corner of Buntin and Seventh streets, at a 
cost of $19,000, under the supervision of Trustees John D. 
Lander, William Williamson and G. H. Deusterberg. Pro- 
fessor A. W. Jones was elected superintendent, succeeding 
himself in 1863, and retaining this position until his death 
in 1873. This building has for its principal at the present 
writing, M. It. Kirk, with nine assistants. Another build- 
ing was erected on the south side of this city in 1878. 


E."A. Quigie is now principal, with three assistants. The 
third Itiiilding was erected on the north side in 1885, and is 
now condncted hv ]\[iss Josephine Crotts, as principal, with 
five assistants. The hnilding on the east side was erected in 
1891, and is now condncted bv Miss Melvina Keith, as 
principal, and fonr assistants. The present High School 
bnilding was erected in 1897, at a cost of $30,000, on the 
corner of Bnntin and Fifth streets, and is a beantifnl mod- 
ern structnre. All of the buildings are of brick, snl:)stan- 
tial, commodious, well equipped and furnished. 

To the Central School there is attached a kindergarten 
department which is conducted by Miss Caroline Pelham 
with Mrs. Flora Andrus Curtis as assistant. 

The building for colored pupils was erected about 
thirty years ago, on the corner of Thirteenth and Hart 
streets, with B. L. Anthony as principal, and two assist- 
ants as present instructors. The enrollment of pupils in 
the public schools of this city in the last report was 1,900. 

The High School has a faculty of ten teachers, including 
Prdfcssor E. A. Humpke, the present superint<:>ndent. 

The o])ir]iot applied to this region by Provisional (lov- 
ernur Arthur Sinclair, of the Xorthwest Territory, in his 
first report to the United States Congress in 1780, to wit, 
"'The Wabash Valley has the most ignorant people on 
earth, and not a fiftieth man can read or write", has 
long since ceased to have any foundation in truth. When 
this expression was uttered, only one year had elapsed 
after the Wabash Valley had passed from the hands of 
Great Britain into those of Uncle Sam, and but few white 
persons, except soldiers, occupied it. The schoolmaster 
has been abroad in the land and the Vincennes University 



did much in the early part of the last century to dispel 
the clouds of ignorance that had l^rooded over the Wabash 
Valley from time immemorial, and to make this place the 
radiating center whence the first streams of knowledge 
flowed over the great I^orthwest. 

The common schools of Indiana, the sequence of ad- 
vanced education, are now the pride, not only of the State, 
but of the jSTation, and illiteracy is the exception and not 
the rule. Could good old Governor Sinclair but awaken 
from his Rip Van Winkle slumbers and view our colleges 
and white school houses, which dot hill and valley like the 
cattle on a thousand hills, he would be astounded and con- 
strained to exclaim, "Great is Hoosierdom ; and her knowl- 
edge enlighteneth as the rays of the morning sun." Indiana 
claims to have the largest common school fund of any State 
in the Union, and possibly has, with the single exception of 
the State of Texas, which, upon its admission to the sister- 
hood of States, retained all her public domain for the use 
and maintenance of her public free schools. 

Chapter VI. 

(•nrucHEs -CATHOLIC. 

TO THE CATHOLICS belong the honor of doing 
the first Christian missionary work in Indiana, at 
the Piankeshaw village, the site of the city of Vin- 
cennes, and the erection of the first house of worship dedi- 
cated to God. 

It has been said that a Jesuit missionary Father visited 
the Indian village Che-pe-ko-ke, on the Wabash river, as 
early as 1702, but it has been shown in discussing the early 
settlement of this place that this statement is incorrect, 
and the mistake arose from an inaccuracy of some of the 
earlier explorers of the Mississippi Valley. For a long 
time the Ohio and Wabash rivers were confounded, they 
believing the former emptied into the latter, hence the 
name Ouabache was used for the Ohio. It is not probable 
that a mission was established here very much earlier than 
the advent of IMorgan de Vincennes in 1731 or 1732. 
From that time on a priest was here occasionally until a 
church organization was effected and a house of worship 
erected, about the year 1749, the resident priest being 
the Keverend Louis Meurin. The first entry in the church 
records is dated April 21, 1749, "'•■ and embraces the follow- 
ing marriage certificate: ''Julian Trotier, of Montreal, 
Canada, and Josie Marie, the daughter of a Frenchman 
and Indian woman." His last record was made in 1756. 

Law's Hist. Vincennes, p. 145. W. H. Smith's Hist. Ind., p. 255. 


''In a memorial on the affairs of Louisiana by M. Le 
Bailey Messager, dated December 17, 1749, a proposition 
was made to establish a 'central power on the Wabash.' 
In the early part of the same year, 1749, a mission or 
churcliwas established at Post Vincennes by the missionary 
Sebast. Lud. Meurin."* On quitting the Post he left one 
Phillibert, a notary public, in charge,. to keep the records 
and to administer baptism to laymen privately during the 
absence of a priest. The records of the Catholic church 
here make no mention of the missionaries until the year 
1749, when Father Meurin came here. For more than 
half a century this was the only church in Indiana. f 
From the departure of Reverend Louis L. Meurin there 
seems to have been no priest at Vincennes until the ar- 
rival of Reverend Pierre Gibault, who, upon his ordination 
in Canada, had been sent to the "Illinois Country," his 
objective point being Kaskaskia, as Vicar-General, by the 
Bishop of Quebec. In the line of his duty Reverend 
Gibault visited Vincennes first, in February, 1770. "In 
March he returned to Kaskaskia, the usual place of his 
residence, but for several years continued to pay occa- 
sional visits to the Post. He was for a time the only priest 
in Indiana. We find from the records of the church that 
in July, 1778, he was in Vincennes, exerting himself suc- 
cessfully in inducing the French inhabitants to declare in 
favor of the United States against Great Britain. ":|: His 
mission here at this time was, in some degree, as ambas- 
sador of Colonel George Rogers Clark, who had won over 

"'" Id 1749 a church or mission was established under the charge of Mission- 
ary Meurin at Piankeshaw village, which stood at the site of Vincennes. "-Dil- 
lon Hist., p. 403. 

t W.H.Smith's Hist. Ind.,p. 255. 

t Law's Hist. Vincennes, p. 146. 


the .Father to the American cause, after his capture of 
Kaskaskia. His services were invaluable, and he should 
be held in grateful reniend;)rance by all American citizens. 

The English Government being in full possession of the 
Northwest • Territory at that time, wdth the exception of 
Kaskaskia and Cahokia, Father Gibault, in showing sym- 
pathy with and giving active aid to Colonel Clark's army, 
showed rare patriotism to the cause of liberty in thus 
exposing himself to the risk of capture and trial for trea- 
son by the English. His good services prepared the way 
for Clark's successful attack and capture of the town and 
fort at Vincennes, February 25, 1779. "'In July, 1779, 
Father Gil)ault again visited Vincennes, then in the pos- 
session of the Americans. He remained three weeks, dis- 
charging the duties of his office. Five years elapsed, after 
this, wdthout a visit from a priest, when Gibault reap- 
peared in 1784, accompanied by the Reverend M. Payet. 
In May, 1785, he established himself at the Post as the 
resident pastor. He remained here until October, 1789, 
when he finally left and settled at Cahokia, and afterwards 
at JSTew Madrid, Missouri, where he died in 1804. A lay- 
man, Pierre JStallet, acted as guardian of the church, hav- 
ing been thus appointed by M. Gibault, until the arrival 
of M. Flaget, in 1792."" It is said by the same author 
that he remained at this Post two years. 

As to the location and character of the first church 
building, I will quote from the history of the late Honor- 
able John Law, a very intelligent gentleman, who came 
to Vincennes in the year 1817, and who had access to the 
church library and w^as well qualified to make a true state- 

■■■■ Law's Hist. Vincennes, p. 147. 


iiient on the siibjcci. The tirsL huildiuii,' was doublless 
erected diiviiig the pastorate of i\ather Louis L. Meuriu 
about the year 1749, as before stated, as the records of the 
church then begin to be kept. Law says: "It is not be- 
yond the memory of the oldest inhabitant of the Post — 
indeed, it is within the recollection of all who dwelt here 
forty years sinee^ — that fronting on Water street, running 
back to Church street, toward the present cathedral, there 
was a plain building with a rough exterior, built of up- 
right posts, 'chuncked and daubed', to use an architectural 
expression purely western, with a rough coat of cement on 
the outside; in width about twenty feet; in length about 
sixty feet; one story high, with a small belfry, and an 
equally small bell, now used at the more elegant and sym- 
metrical building * " * . The building I have described 
— placed in the cemetery, where the various mortuary 
memorials, which piety and affection had dedicated to 
those who had gone before, headed with the symbol of their 
faith, and for the most part of wood, the inscriptions, from 
moss and time almost illegible — was the ancient church of 
St. Francis Xavier * * * and was withoi»t doulit the 
only church used here for Catholic worship until the foun- 
dations of the new edifice which has superseded it was laid 
and the building prepared for worship."* 

The History of Knox County, p. 289, has this to say: 
''Father Gibault says, in 1784, a new church had been 
built, 90x42 feet." Tliis statement is not borne out by the 
facts, and it is presumed that the Father has been mis- 
represented. If such a building had been erected upon the 
Father's advent the last time he came, in May, 1785, where 

•■■Law's Hist. Vincennt'i:, p. 141. 


was it in 1792, when Father B. J. Flaget came to serve the 
church? He said : ''The biiikling' was poor, open and neg- 
lected ; the ahar, a temporary structure, was of boards and 
l)adly put together. I found tlie congregation in a worse 
state even than the church. Out of nearly 700, but 
twelve could be induced to approach holy communion dur- 
ing Christmas festivities."* If a new church had been 
built in 1784, as alleged, it is not probable that it coiild 
have liecome so dilapidated as described by the reverend 
Father, in only a few years' time ; and the size of the re- 
puted new building, 90x42 feet, does not correspond with 
the one described by Law, 20x60 feet, and "one story 
high," when he came to Vincennes in 1817. What Father 
Flaget said in 1792 about the building goes to show that 
it was the same as originally constructed, but possibly im- 
proved somewhat by St. Ange, who added a belfry and a 
bell, which was used in church service until the erection 
of the new cathedral, and, for some purpose, up to the 
present time."f 

There is a living witness to corroborate Judge Law's 
statement, Mrs. Elizabeth Andre, now in her ninety-third 
year. She told the writer, May 7, 1902, that she, in com- 
pany with the late L. L. Watson and Mr. Vital Bouchie, 
now living, took their first communion in the first church 
built here, and describes it as built of posts or upright 
slabs, and further stated that this old church was used up 
to the time of the erection of the present cathedral. She 
describes the entrance to the church as facing the river ; 
said that sometimes there were long intervals between the 
visits of the priests ; that she remembers when two came, 

■■■' Hist. Knox County, p. 236. 
t Law's Hist. Vineennei^, p. 15. 


having' walked and carried their packs on their hacks a long 
distance: and remembers Fatiier Flaget as tlie first bishop 
to come to Vincennes. She seems bright in intellect and 
memory as ever, and says that her recollection of incidents 
in her early years is as clear as it ever was — mnch better 
than it is of incidents happening fifty years ago. The 
foregoing, statements indicate definitely that the present 
cathedral has had bnt one preceding church. 

There Avas no regular supply of the church here until 
Congress, at the petition of Bishop Carroll indorsed by 
President Washington, passed an act giving an annuity to 
the church of $200. Then the Bishop appointed Reverend 
John Francis Eivet, wdio arrived here in May, 1795. His 
first official act recorded was the baptism of Antoinette 
Rous, May 3, 1795, when he signed the record ''Rivet 
prete missionary." He continued here until 1804. Then 
there appears to have been no regularly stationed priest 
here for about a period of about two years. Those who 
ofiiciated remained heie but a short time and were attached 
to missions in Illinois, or to the diocese of Kentucky. M. 
Flaget, having been consecrated Bishop of Bardstown, Ky., 
revisited Vincennes in 1814, and again in 1819, 1823 and 
1832 "" ^ ^. He was the first bishop wdio served at 
Vincennes. He died in Louisville in February, 1850. The 
See of Vincennes was erected in 1833 and Reverend Simon 
G. Brute was consecrated October 28, 183.4, at St. Louis, 
and took up his residence at Vincennes.* As his field of 
labor was very extensive and his flocks scattered over a vast 
extent of territory, there being only two priests under his 
jurisdiction, and they two hundred and tw^enty-five miles 

"■ Hist. Knox County, p. 29]. 


a])art, lie addressed liis first pastoral letter from St. Louis 
after his elevation, that being the only way he could reach 
his members. He died in 1839, leaving a distinguished 
lecord as a Christian gentleman and a popular bishop, and 
was buried in the crypt of the church. Bishop Brute was 
succeeded by Bishop Celestin Reno Laureant Gyner de le 
Hailandiere, in 1839, who resigned in 1847. He was 
succeeded by John Stephen Bazin in 1847, who died April 
23, 1848, after a brief episcopate of six months. Bishop 
Isaac Maurice de Long d'Assac de St. Palais was ap- 
pointed to this diocese in 1849. It then comprised the 
whole State, including about fifty churches and a Catholic 
population of about 30,000. Bishop St. Palais was an 
efficient and popular bishop. During his episcopate the 
diocese was divided, and one at Fort Wayne erected, em- 
bracing about one-half of the State. He died in 1877. 
Francis Silas Chatard, the fifth bishop, succeeded to this 
diocese and was consecrated bisliop in Rome, May, 1878, 
by Cardinal Franchi. Up to- this time the bishop's resi- 
dence had been at Vincennes and his parishoners here were 
much concerned to know whether the new bishop would 
continue it or not. As this had been the battleground for 
the success and advancement of tlie church for more than 
a century and a half, they felt a just pride in claiming 
priority of domicile for their bishop and had good reasons 
for supj)osing that this city would become his home. But 
such was not to be, and sacred ties, consecrated by sweet 
memories of the past, were to l>e rent asunder for public 
policy through the inexorable changes of time and prog- 
ress. He was installed in office by Archbishop Purcell, of 
Cincinnati, in August, 1878. The brief changing the 



style of the diocese from Vincennes to Indianapolis was 
dated March 28, 1878, bnt was not promulgated until 
April 20, 1898. The news of the change was received 
with gTief by his parishoners here, but was loyally ac- 
cepted by them. 

St. Xavier Cathedral has for its rector the Reverend 
Louis GuegTien, R. D., a most estimable gentleman and 
Christian, and the Reverend Frederick Berget, an eloquent 
young preacher, as his assistant. 

St. John's German Catholic Church, a branch of St. 
Xavier, was constituted in 1851, and had for its pastor 
Reverend Nicholas Stauber, who erected a brick house for 
worship in the same year on a beautiful square between 
Eighth and Ninth streets, on Main, the same in re- 
cent years being remodeled and enlarged under the super- 
vision of the second pastor. Reverend A. Mertz, who faith- 
fully administered unto his parishoners for more than 
forty years and up to his death. Reverend Meinrad 
Fleischman, the present pastor, succeeded him. 

The prosperity and status of the Catholic Church may 
be judged by the following statistics gleaned from the 
reports of its official records for the year 1900, of the 
Church in the State: Bishops, 2; priests, 353; churches, 
302 ; Catholic population, 184,388. 


The first missionary work done in this State by the 
Presbyterian Church occurred in the years 1804, 1805 and 
1806, by the Reverends Samuel Runnels, Samuel D. Rob- 
inson, James McGrady and Thomas Clelland, members of 
the Transylvania Presbytery of Kentucky. In 1805 the 



Reverend Clelland visited Vincennes and Governor Will- 
iam Henry Harrison's wife, who was a Presbyterian, in- 
vited him to preach in the conncil chamber of the Gov- 
ernor, which he did ; and this is the first recorded sermon 
preached in Indiana Territory by a Presbyterian minister. 
The first chnrch was organized (nnder the title of The 
Indiana Chnrch) in 1806, by the Reverend Samuel D. 
Robinson, of the Transylvania Presbytery, Synod of Ken- 
tucky. Missionaries, besides the ones noted, occasionally 
visited Indiana Territory, including Reverend Thomas 
Williamson, of the Presbytery of South Carolina, but there 
was no regular pastor stationed here until 1807, when the 
Genei'al Assemldy of the church "ordered that the Rever- 
end Samuel T. Scott, of the Presbytery of West Lexington, 
Ky., be a missionary for three months in the Indiana 
Territory, and especially at Vincennes." The Reverend 
Scott had been serving as pastor of Mt. Pleasant and In- 
dian Creek churches. He arrived under this resoluti<ui 
of the Assemldy in 1807, and became pastor of Indiami 
Church,* which was the first Presbyterian Church organ- 
ized in Indiana Territory. The Reverend Scott proved to 
be an efficient and laborious pastor, meetings being held in 
the woods oftentimes. He soon gathered three congrega- 
tions, knoAvn as Upper and Lower Indiana and Vincennes 
jiortions of the Indiana Church. He was prime factor in 
educational advancement in this region and was the first 
teacher employed by the Vincennes University trustees. 
The impress left on the people by him was elevating and 
enlightening to the cause of civilization and the Christian 
religion. He ministered to these congregations many years 

'•'Indiana Churi-h embraced the churches of Vincennes, I |iper and Lower 


before lie was ordained, that event occurring August 6, 
1825, at a meeting of the Salem Presbytery (this body 
having been organized and detached from the Synod of 
Kentucky in 1823), in the courthouse in Vincennes. This 
body consisted of the Keverends William Robinson, John 
Todd, Samuel T. Scott, William W. Martin, John M. 
Dickey, John T. Crowe and Isaac Reed. Reverend 
Samuel Scott died in 1827, and the Reverend Samuel R. 
Alexander succeeded to the pastorate of the church in 1828, 
being installed in the old court house standing at the corner 
of Third and Buntin streets. Up to 1833. the Vincennes 
Church was identified with and was a part of Indiana 
Church, organized in 1806 ; but after that time it assumed 
an individual existence. The other churches issuing from 
Indiana Church, the parent church, were Wheatland, 
Bruceville, West Salem, Smyrna, Upper and Lower Indi- 
ana Churches. 

The first building of the Vincennes branch as organ- 
ized" stood on the corner of Fifth and Busseron streets, on 
Avhich the present Presbyterian Church now stands and was 
dedicated April 16, 1831, with Reverend Samuel R. Alex- 
ander as supply to it and the other churches up to January 
6, 1833, when the Reverend W. W. Martin became pastor, 
with a membership of thirty-three persons. He preached 
until April, 1835, when he was succeeded by Reverend 
John MciSreil, who was succeeded by the Reverend Thomas 
Alexander, who remained until January 23, 1817. Rever- 
end John F. Smith was then pastor until May, 1858. 
Reverend J. W. Blythe succeeded him, who gave way to 
Reverend J. F. Jennison, and he in turn to Eli B. Siiiitli 

••'The lot was conveyed to the tru.'-tces of the cliiivch by ]!i-uner. for the 
sum of §80. 


in 1861, who remained until 1866, when Reverend J. F. 
Hendj was called to the pastorate. The church dividing 
on the Civil War question, the Second Presbyterian Church 
was organized April 20, 1862, with thirty-seven members 
who worshipped in the female academy on the comer of 
Fifth and Busseron streets until they built a brick church 
on Main, near Sixth street, and called as pastor the Rev- 
erend E. S. Wilson. He was succeeded by Reverend 
Joseph Vance, and he by H. B. Thayer. In 1872 the 
asperities of the Civil War having become obliterated or 
softened between the First and Second Churches, the two 
bodies became reunited, the Reverend Hendy withdrawing 
and the Reverend Vance succeeding to the joint pastorate. 
Reverend E. P. Whallen succeeded him in August, 1878, 
continuing until 1888, when the Reverend Thomas S. 
Scott was installed and remained until 1894, when he was 
succeeded by the Reverend George Knox. 

Under the administration of the Reverend Whallen tlie 
old house of worship, built in 1831, was razed and a por- 
tion of the new structure was erected at a cost of $15,000, 
and completed in 1899, under the successful administra- 
tion of the Reverend George Knox, making the total cost 
of the present building about $25,000, rendering it a model 
of Ijeauty, equipment and convenience, with a seating ca- 
pacity of 600. It was dedicated in May, 1899, and the 
following hymn was written for and used in the dedi- 
catory services b\ the author: 



Oil, Lord, on this ausincious day, 

Thy people in tlieir temple meet 
To dedicate it and to lay 

The offering at the Savior's feet. 

In faith we to the altar bring 

Our soul's deyotion, and each voice 

Would, with the sweetest accents, sing 
Thy praises as we liere rejoice. 

Bestow a blessing on us now, 

As we adoring look above. 
And sanctify each prayer and vow. 

And fill our souls with joy and love. 

May seed, witliin this vineyard sown. 

Be niu'tured by Thy grace divine, 
And yield full harvests for Thy throne, 

And all the glory shall be Thine. 

Keverend Dr. Hunter succeeded to the pastorate in 1901 
and the church has a bright future. 

At the present time the Church of the State is divided 
into eight Presbyteries, with a total of 259 ministers and 
320 churches, and a total membership of 42,783. During 
the year 1900 the members gave for congregational ex- 
penses the sum of $390,360; to home missions, $61,581; 
other benevolences, $143,244; making a total of $595,185. 
Resident membership, 360. 


Vincennes circuit a]>pcars upon the minutes of the 
District of ^"incenncs in 1810, making three fields of 
hd)or, and Air. William Winans, who had been admitted on 
trial in the western conference the year before, was sent 
here, and his advent nnirked the beginning of the propa- 



ii'atioii of Methodism in Vinceimes. The following inci- 
dent is recorded as having occnrred at one of his meetings : 
He had an appointment to preach in town one night and 


m If J ? 1^ ??' '^i I 



had for his audience Governor William Henry Harrison 
and one other person. There was but one candle to give 
light and nothing to place it upon. To relieve the diffi- 


cult J the Governor held the candle while the young 
preacher read his hymn and text*. He was sent from here 
to Mississippi District, Louisiana, the following year. He 
became, in time, distinguished and a doctor of divinity. 
Tradition gives a little episode in the life of the Reverend 
Winans while here. It is stated that while the pow-wow 
was in progress between Governor Harrison and Tecum- 
seh, when the same had reached an acute stage, the Rev- 
erend Winans stood in the front door of the Harrison man- 
sion, -with a gun in hand, ready to go to the General's aid, 
if attacked by the Indians. This shows that, while he was 
a soldier of the cross, he was no less a soldier in the cause 
of American liberty. 

It is presumed that the church was organized in 1809, 
the year preceding the advent of Reverend Winans, he 
being the first supply pastor, as the next year, 1810, Vin- 
cennes appears on the conference minutes as St. Vin- 

The first general conference of the church convened in 
ISTew Albany in 18:3;3. The State has been divided into 
eight conferences, Bloomington, Connersville, Evans- 
ville, Indianapolis, ]\[oores Hill, iSTew Albany and Vin- 
cennes. It has under its charge 321 ministers; 220 are 
on the oifice list. The seventy-first session of the General 
Conference was liokl va Vincennes September 16, 1902, 
continuing (inc week, and having an attendance of 500 

Goodspeed, in his llistorv of Knox County, says the 
.Methodist ( "hurcli was organized in ISO-j, by the Reverend 
William Winans, which is an error, as the Reverend Wi- 

'•' lu'liaiiM .MisccllMin-. liy Itcv. W. <_'. Smith, p. 'iJ. 


nans, as seen ali<»ve, did not come to Vinccnnes circuit 
nntil the latter part of 1810, where he remained a year and 
was sent to Mississippi. lie was, while here, a licentiate, 
only, and there is no recorded evidence of the time Avhen 
an organization of the church took place. The presumption 
is that the church was first organized in 1809, hut did not 
hecome a station until 1829. In 1828 lot 132, on the 
corner of Buntin and Third streets, was purchased, the 
deed being made to David S. Bonner, Richard Posey and 
Thomas Collins, and a house of worship was subsequently 
l)uilt thereon. A more substantial building replaced the 
first one on the same lot about 1854. In 1894 the lot on the 
corner of Fourth and Perry streets was purchased with a 
view of erecting a stone church on it, the corner stone of 
which was laid April 17, 1899. The present building was 
completed and occupied later in the same year, and is a 
beautiful structure. The cost of the building and lot was 

There has been about seventy pastors and junior preach- 
ers connected with this church since it was established. 
Those Avho have been promoted to the office of presiding 
elder were : James Axley, Peter Cartwright, George Lock, 
Aaron Wood, Daniel ]\lclntire, Hayden Hayes and John 
Kyser, all of whom are now deceased ; and B. F. Rawlins, 
William B. Zaring, William McKee Hester, M. M. Hobbs, 
W. B. Collins, M. S. Heavenridge and the present popular 
official, II. C. Clippinger. The Reverend T. H. Willis is 
the present eloquent and efficient pastor. Total membership 
is placed at 468. The spread of the church in the State 
has been phenomenal. 



The Protestant Episcopal Church had a iiiission here 
as early as 1823, served by the Reverend Henry M. Shaw. 
For a time services were held in the unfinished University 
building, which was fitted up for that purpose, under the 
direction of Rector Shaw. Subsequently, after, that build- 
ing passed into the hands of the Catholic Church, by per- 
mission, through arrangements with the town authorities, 
a room in the city hall was fitted up for church purposes 
and used until St. James Church was erected and conse- 

On the Ytli day of October, 1839, the communicants and 
friends interested in the church met at the residence of Mr. 
George Davis to consider the matter of organizing a parish. 
The Reverend B. B. Killikelly, a missionary priest, was 
present and presided. Those present organized a parish, 
and named it St. James Church of Vincennes. George 
Davis and James W. Greenhow were chosen wardens and a 
vestry was elected. After the organization was completed 
the Reverend B. B. Killikelly was chosen the first rector, 
and accepted the charge, entering upon his duties at once. 
In 1840 the oflicers purchased the lot on which their pres- 
ent edifice now^ stands, on the southeast corner of Fourth 
and Busseron streets, for $400. In 1841 a movement was 
made to secure funds for the erection of a building, and 
with that object in vieAv their rector, the Reverend Killi- 
kelly, made a tour east, going as far as England, where he 
received substantial donations for the church erection fund 
— one of ten pounds, l)y Queen Adelaide, widow of Will- 
iam IV ; and amonc: other distinguished subscribers was 


Mr. GladstoiiG. On the return of the Reverend Killikelly 
the erection of a chnreh building was commenced and 
completed in the summer of 1S43, and dedicated on August 
2nd in that same year by Bishop Kemper, missionary 
bishop of the jSTorthwest. The Reverend Killikelly re- 
signed about this time, and was succeeded by the Reverned 
Foster Thayer, who in turn was succeeded by the Reverend 
Killikelly again, who remained rector some years more. 

The next rector, the Reverend A. Varrian, entered upon 
liis j)astorate in 1850, and was succeeded by the following 
rectors, in the order named : The Reverends F. Elweil, I). 
E. Loveridge, John F. Esch, W. H. Carter, A. F. Free- 
man, J. F. Gay, Thomas Austin, D. D., William Morrall, 
Peter McFarland, A. A. Abbott (now Bishop of Cleve- 
land), C. S. Sargent, G. Graham Adams, Edwin Johnson, 
George Taylor Griffin and De Lou Burke, the latter being 
the present rector. The church, as originally built, did not 
include the tower, which was constructed in 1865. The 
church roll, while never very large (there being now less 
than sixty active members), in influence and standing 
maintains a high position in the community, and seems 
fairly prosperous. Several young men have been prepared 
for the ministry within its sacred portals, and have gone 
out into the world to preach the gospel of Christ with suc- 


There may have been, and probably was, religious serv- 
ices held here by the Baptist denomination at a very early 
date, as that denomination had a missionary in the county, 
the Reverend James McQuaid, who organized a church in 


Widiier township as early as 1809. ISTo record exists that 
preaching- occurred prior to 1861, when the Reverend J. S. 
Gillespie came here. He hekl a series of meetino-s in the 
]\[ethodist Episcopal (.'hnrch. He returned again in 1862, 
leaving a prosperous church at Greencastle to organize one 
here, which was accomplished May 1, 1862, in the resi- 
dence of Mrs. Woodman, composed of the following mem- 
bers : Mrs. W. J. Heberd, JNIrs. David Buck, ]\[rs. William 
Floro, Mrs. Eliza Wise, Miss Lou Duree, Mrs. L. Gillespie, 
Miss Gillespie, Christian Ealler and the Reverend J. S. 
Gillespie. They purchased a lot on the corner of Broad- 
way and Sixth streets, and erected a house of worship about 
1866 at a cost of $6,000, adding a bell and furnishings 
complete in 1868. The Reverend Gillespie resigned in 
1867, and was succeeded by the Reverend L. B. Robinson, 
who was in turn succeeded by the following pastors in the 
order named : The Reverends B. F. Cavens fin 1871), Dr. 
Stinson (of Terre Haute), J. Brandenburg (in 1875), 
J. H. Butler (1883), the Reverend Patterson, B. F. 
Keith, William Thomas, Thomas Wolford and W. G. Law, 
the present pastor, who entered upon his duties on January 
1, 1901. The present enrollment of members is 234, and 
the pastor reports the church well organized and as enjoy- 
ing a good degree of prosperity. 


So far as records show, the Christian Church (so desig- 
nated to distinguish it from other Protestant branches of 
the Christian Church Universal) w^as organized in Vin- 
cennes not before the third Sunday in June, 1833. By 


whom it was ovgaiiizcd is not positively known, ])nt 
among the initial nienibers were llenry 1). Wheeler and 
Avife, Samuel Piety and wife and Mrs. Harriet Jndali. 
In tlie early years of the church the organization possessed 
no house of worship and had no pastor, holding their serv- 
ices in private residences, the city hall and the court house. 
Accessions followed in due time, with substantial God- 
fearing citizens, such as Doctor J. R. Mantell, Alplionso 
Draper and others, when a building lot was secured on 
Second street, between Buntin and Perry streets, and in 
1846 a brick structure was commenced, but not completed 
and dedicated until October, 1848. For many years the 
church was without a regular pastor, the pulpit being sup- 
plied occasionally by evangelists having other churches 
in their charge for their support. The Reverend Alexander 
Campbell, the founder of this branch of the Protestant 
Church in the United States, once paid a visit to the Vin- 
cennes church, and ministered to the flock with great ac- 
ceptability. In 1865 this church called its first pastor, the 
Reverend J. J. Holton, wdio was followed, in 1869, by 
Elder W. H. Tiller, who was in turn succeeded by the 
Reverend J. F. Clark. The latter ministered to his people 
for twenty-one years — a deserving compliment to a devoted 
and loving minister of Christ. He was followed by the 
Reverend J. IST. Jessup, and he by G. M. Weimer. Then 
came the present efficient and acceptable pastor, the Rever- 
end William Oeschger, March 1, 1901. 

The church has prospered, having now enrolled 500 
members, and will soon erect a fine massive structure on the 
corner of Broadway and Third streets. 

OLD A^Nrn^XNKS. 130 

«;!:k.\iax ruo ri;sTAN'P 

The St. John's Evangelical and the vSt. John's Lutheran 
Churches worshipped as one body in 1855, in a chnrch on 
the corner of Eighth and Scott streets, and this union con- 
tinued until 1859, when a division occurred, the Lutheran 
branch purchasing the interest of the Evangelicals for the 
sum <d" $400, and l)ccnniing the owners of the church edi- 


The St. John's Lutheran Church was served then by the 
Reverend Peter Scnel, wdio was installed October 16, 1859. 
He was succeeded by the following pastors, in the order 
named: The Reverends J. D. F. Mayer, J. W. Mueller; 
F. R. Forman, September 26, 1869 ; C. R. W. Huge, Sep- 
tember 26, 1880; G. Goessw^ein, January 11, 1885; Carl 
Kretzeman, September 12, 1897, the present efficient and 
eloquent pastor wdio has for his assistant the Reverend 
Martin Kretzeman, who was installed as such assistant Au- 
gust 4, 1901. 

The old church gave way to the present substantial and 
commodious l)uilding in 1876. 

A parochial day school and vSunday school are conducted 
by the pastors. A parsonage is also erected on the half 
square occupied by the church and school buildings. Total 
voting membership of this church is eighty-two ; total mem- 
bership, 370 ; total scholarships, ninety. The church has 
prospered gTeatly and is harmonious. 



This organization separated from tlio Lntheran 1)r;in('li 
in Angust, 1859, and had for its pastor the Reverend C. 
Hoffmeister. They built a frame church on the comer of 
Fifth and Hart streets. In 1886 a commodious brick struc- 
ture was erected on the corner of Fifth and Shelby streets. 
This congregation has also more recently erected a par- 
sonage and parochial school building. They have had as 
pastors the following, in the order named : The Rev- 
erends F. Durlitz, William Jung, IST. Burkhardt, Peter 
Webber, Albert Schorey, O. J. Kuss, Frederick Reller, 
Henry Mehl, and again Albert Schorey. The Reverend 
Louis Hohmann is now pastor. 

The present membership of the church is eighty-eight. 
This church has prospered under its several pastors, and is 
doing a good work in the interests of Christianity. 


This church was organized by the Reverend W. P. 
Quinn, at what period no record exists to show. Samuel 
Clark, Cornelius Sims, W. H. Stewart, James Brunswick, 
and Henry Ryder were the initiatory members. The first 
building erected was in the year 1839, on the comer of 
Tenth and Buntin streets. This one was replaced by a brick 
structure, 35x50, in 1875. The name of the present pastor 
is the Reverend G. H. White. 


This branch of the Presbyterian Church must have held 
service in this county sixty years or more ago, as they or- 
ganized a cliurch in Palmyra township aliout that time, 


yet no record is given by the pastor of the chnrch in Vin- 
cennes that preaching ever occurrred here before the advent 
of the Reverend Henry Clay Yates in 1890, when a church 
was organized with a membership of twenty-one. The 
chnrch bnikling was erected during the year 1890, and was 
dedicated in the spring of 1891. The Reverend Yat^s was 
its first pastor, continuing six years, when he was suc- 
ceedcHJ by the Reverend F. A. Grant, who remained but 
six months, being succeeded by the Reverend J. ]Sr. McDon- 
ald. The latter was pastor for four years, being succeeded 
by the Reverend J. B. Miller, present pastor, in 1901. 

Total membership of Vincennes Church is 1Y5. Total 
mend^ership in the State, 3,788. Total value of property, 
$ls;>,300. Amount contributed for church purposes in 
1900 was $17,370. The church seems fairly prosperous 
under its energetic pastor, 


This church was organized in 1807, aud for some years 
held regular meetings under the lea(lershi]i of a Ral)l>i, but 
owing to many removals of its members froui the city, 
their synagogue and priest were given up. Its mend>ers 
embraced some of the liest l)usiness men of the city. Its 
trustees are Benjamin Kuhu, Myron Rindskoph and Vic- 
tor Schonfield ; Secretary, Dan Oestricher. 

Ete Chaim Lodge, ISTo. 205, I. O. B. B., was organized 
1875. J. B. Kuhn, Pr., Dan Oestricher, Secretary. 

Chapter VII. 


MUCH has been written about the founder of Vin- 
cennes, regarding his nationality, genealogy and 
age, and the question may not yet be considered 
settled ; but the presumption is that all is now known that 
will ever be. From the best sources of information obtain- 
able it may be stated that he was born in Canada (although 
some say that he was a native of France), but at what time 
is not positively known. It is recorded that he received an 
ensign's commission in 1699. He is believed to be the son 
of Louisa Bissot (the sister of Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur 
de Vincennes), whose husband was Seraphim Morgane. 
According to Duboison's narrative, page 9, the subject of 
this sketch fought gallantly in defending the fort at De- 
troit from a combined Indian attack, May, 1712. He was 
subsequently sent West, and was at Mackinaw, and, accord- 
ing tO' Law's History, he was engaged in some service on 
the lakes toAvard St. Marie in 1725. "At what time he 
took possession here is not exactly known ; probal)ly some- 
where about the year 1732." 

On the death of his uncle, Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur 
de Vincennes, he assumed liis title of Sieur de Vincennes. 
He worked his way west to the Posts Miamis and Ouiate- 
non, after which he is known to have been at Kaskaskia, 



Octdher iio, IT-T, wIumh^ lie uikI Iannis St. Auge, his fel- 
low-officer, attended the nuptials of two of the inhabitants.* 

The next recorded history of his whereabouts is that of 
his being at the Che-pe-ko-ke village in 1733. Law, p. 19, 
says: "There are other documents there (Kaskaskia) 
signed by him (Vincennes) as witness in 1733-1734, 
among them (records) a receipt for one hundred pistoles, 
received from his father-in-law on his marriage. From 
all these proofs it is clearly evident that lie was here pre- 
vious to 1733." That he was at the village previous to that 
time is positive; for his letters recently published (1902) 
by the Indiana Historical Society, dated ]\Iarch 7 and 21, 
1733, Vincennes, show this. In his letter of March 21, 
1733, he says, in answer to the inquiry as to his progress 
at the post, "I have built a fort and erected two houses, but 
need a guard-room and a barracks for lodging soldiers, and 
thirty more soldiers and an officer, as it is not possible to 
remain in this place with so few troops." It would seem 
from this statement of Vincennes that what some writers 
have said a1)out the Indians here receiving the priests and 
French soldiers Avith open arms is entirely too rosy and 
al)surd for credence. The savage Indian can no more 
change his nature toward the white man than a leopard 
can change his spots. He stated further that he was '"em- 
barrassed by the war with the Chickasaws, who have been 
here twice this spring." 

He continued here as connnandant until 173G, when 
his superior officer. Major de Artagette, ordered him to 
join his forces in a eam])aign Avar against the Chickasaw 
Nation in Louisiana. This wing of the anuy was to bo 

'■'.Mason, " Kaska.-^kia audita I'aiish Rcconls," in Aiiieriiau History. \nl 
VI, |). 175. 


joined with one from New Orleans by agreement, but, 
owing to some blunder or unavoidable cause, a junction 
was not formed of the two bodies, and Major Artagette's 
force alone attacked the Chickasaws, and, after a bloody, 
]5rolonged battle, the French forces were defeated, and 
Artagette, Vincennes, the Jesuit Father, and many soldiers 
were captured and burned at the stake. 

In relation to his death Charlevoix said : "We have just 
received very bad news from Louisiana and our war w'ith 
the Chickasaws. The French have been defeated. Among 
the slain is JMonsieur de Vincennes, who ceased not until 
his latest breath to exhort the men to behave worthy of 
their religion and their country." 

Thus ignobly perished the hero-patriot and founder of 
our city. He Avell deserves a beautiful monument from his 
countrymen, whose shaft should perpetuate his noble and 
valiant deeds of patriotism. 

Vincennes! Thy name will live in story, 
Wliilst others, writ on brass and stone, 

Will lose, in passing time, a glory 

Tliat round them once in brightness shown. 


The subject of this sketch, being the prime factor in 
the capture of Vincennes in the cause of American lib- 
erty, occupies an important position in the annals of the old 
town, which would be incomplete without the mention of 
his nolde life, character and eminent services — a life full 
of startling incidents and stirring events, which impressed 
themselves indelibly upon the early history of the great 
West, although only a brief notice of them can be recorded 



George Rogers Clark, who has been called the ''Han- 
nibal of the West," was born in Albemarle County, Vir- 
ginia, on the 19th day of Xovember, 1752, within one and 
one-half miles of Monticello, the celebrated resting place 
of President Thomas Jefferson. He was of Scotch-English 
descent, his mother being a lineal descendant of the cele- 
brated John Rogers, 
who was burned at the 
stake for his inflexi- 
ble religious opinions. 
Some members of the 
family, like himself, 
have been notable 
characters; one of his 
brothers, W i 1 1 i a m . 
having been asso- 
ciated with Mr. Lewis 
in the celebrated ex- 
pedition of Lewis and 
Clark to the Pacific 
Ocean. George did not 
receive a classical edu- 
cation, his tastes be- 
ing inclined to mathe- 
matics and surveying, 

although he was under the tutelage of a noted educator, 
Daniel Robertson, and had for a time as a classmate James 
Madison, who afterward became President. When l)nt 
nineteen years of age Clark started West with a surveying 
party, and was at Steubenville, 0., in 1770, and also in 
Kentuckv. He soon returned to Virginia, but was back 




and forth for the next few years ; and, when there was an 
Indian ontbreak_, he joined a company in Ohio to oppose 
the hostiles. In 1775 he was engaged in snrv eying in Ken- 
tncky, and located some lands near Frankfort. Bnt he 
was also about Ilarrodsbnrg and other places, familiarizing 
himself Avith the country and the settlers. In 177G he went 
to Virginia and settled up his business with a view of 
making Kentucky his home, and induced his parents to 
emigTate thither. About this time he developed into a poli- 
tician, as well as a military expert, and, finding the people 
of the settlements unorganized, he impressed upon them 
the need of union of action, and the importance of sending 
delegates to the Legislature of Virginia. At his instance 
two delegates, himself and Gabriel Jones, were sent, who 
were to impress upon the parent State the duty of caring 
for and helping the far-away colony. When they presented 
themselves at Williamsburg, the capital, the Legislature 
had adjourned, and the State officers could not la^vfully 
make any advances to buy materials of warfare for the pro- 
tection of the settlements. Jones returned, but Clark re- 
mained, and ])lea(k'd so successfully witli tlic Governor, 
Patrick Henry, that the latter issued an order for tive hun- 
dred pounds of powder, to be delivered at Pittsburgh sub- 
ject to Clark's order. He wrote to the settlers at Harrods- 
burg to send for it, but the letter was lost, and later in 
the year he found the powder still at Pittsburgh. He had 
remained to meet with the Legislaure at its next session, 
and Jones, returning to act with him, they were then recog- 
nized as delegates. Learning that the powder had not yet 
been sent for, they took the river route home, and, having 
secured some boatmen, they sailed down the river and 


laiided at a point near where Maysville, Kv., is located, 
and there hid the powder, finding' that they did not have 
enough force to transfer it to Ilarrodshurg. On their re- 
turn home a company was sent for the powder, and suc- 
ceeded in delivering it at its destination. Clark had so 
endeared himself to the settlers that he was looked up to as 
their leader, and he proceeded to organize them, thus form- 
ing- the foundation for the great connnonwealth of Ken- 
tucky. Having formed the male portion of the little com- 
munity into a militia, he equipped them with material for 
defensive warfare, and his ambition then went out in a 
desire to take the offensive against the English, who held 
certain points, and gave encouragement io Indian out- 
hreaks. He, as a preliminary, sent out two spies to visit 
Ivaskaskia and Vincennes posts, and to learn their strength 
and the temper of the French people living at these places. 
'J'he messengers returned with encouraging news, hut, as 
he had no aiithority to make an aggressive move, nor the 
means to sustain him if he did, he determined to lay his 
scheme hefore the Assembly, and, accordingly, returned 
to Virginia. He presented his plans to Governor Henry, 
who, being favorably impressed with them, called in coun- 
sel Thomas Jefferson, George Wythe and George Mason, 
to consider the matter. This eminent triumvirate, in coun- 
cil with the great Governor Henry and the dashing young 
luM'o of the West, Clark, proved themselves worthy of the 
task of evolving the magnifieent scheme that bronght to 
\'irginia's door the gift of th(> N'orthwest Territory. The 
counselors readily adopted ( lark's plans, and he was 
supplied with £1,S50 and authorized to raise seven com- 
panies of lifty men each t(v further the scheme, trust- 


ing to the Legislature to legalize their action. The Gov- 
ernor issued two sets of instructions to Clark for his 
guidance, one of a secret nature and the other for the pub- 
lic* The one for the public merely authorized Clark to 
raise seven companies of militia in any county of the 
State and proceed to Kentucky, they to be under the 
orders of Clark. The secret order was to advance on Kas- 
kaskia or Vincennes, and set forth in detail as to pro- 
cedure and advice as to his actions with any conquered 
enemies and friends joining the American cause. Gather- 
ing his troops together at the Falls of the Ohio, he consoli- 
dated them at "Corn Island, "f which he fortified. Having 
supplied himself with boats for descending the river, the 
day before his departure he, for the first time, informed 
his troops of their destination. Captain Dillard's com- 
pany at once mutinied, and about tliirty of them escaped 
that night to the Kentucky shore. Clark sent troopers 
after them, with instructions to capture or kill the desert- 
ers. Only ten were returned to the fort ; the others 
reached Harrodsburg after enduring hardship^: and suffer- 
ing. The news of their desertion having preceded them, 
they were denied admittance to the fort for some time. 
The troops had been promised l)y the Governor, Jefferson, 
Wythe and Mason that if they were successful they would 
be given 320 acres each of land in addition to their salaries. 
This promise was faithfully kept, and 149,000 acres of 
land were set apart for these soldiers and officers. These 
lands were located in Clark, Kloyd and Scott counties, and 
were known as "Clark's Grant." All things being in readi- 

■•■■ For the plans of Clark to succeed, perfect secrecy was necessary, and hence 
the matter was not placed before the legislature. 

t So called because it is said that corn was first raised there in Kentucky. 


ness, on the 24tli clay of June, 1778, the boats ladened 
witli cargo and 175 troops started. Clark says: "We left 
our little island and ran about a mile up the river in order 
to srain the main channel, and shot the falls at the verv mo- 
ment of the sun being in a great eclipse." This circum- 
stance was calculated to add solemnity to the occasion, and 
awe and forebodings to the superstitious. He had first con- 
templated an attack upon Vincennes, but, learning it was 
well garrisoned, he steered down the river, with Kaskaskia 
i-.o his objective point, and, after a four days' run, he landed 
on a small island at the muutli of the Tennessee river. 
While resting there they captured a boat containing six 
hunters who had left Kaskaskia eight days before, and 
who gave much iuformation and expressed a desire to join 
Clark's force, which offer was accepted, after a consulta- 
tion. Hiding tlieir boats up a creek, the next morning 
they started for a hundrod-aud-twenty-mile tramp through 
the wilderness, prairie and swamps. On the third day of 
their journey one of the new accessions, a man named San- 
ders, who essayed to guide them, got bewildered and got off 
the right course, and the suspicion was at once formed that 
he was playing traitor. ( "hirk gave hiui one hour to find 
the road or be shot as an alternative. After circling about 
some time, he succeeded in findiug the road, and then all 
went well. The man proved to be a true patriot and was 
of much value to the army. On the itli day of July the 
army got within three miles of Kaskaskia, and, after night- 
fall, they marched up the Kaskaskia River one mile to a 
farm house, taking the family prisoners, who informed 
Clark that the garrison was not expecting an attack, and 
no sentries were out. Finding plenty of boats, the soldiers 


soon crossed the river in silence. Clark says: "I dividcMl 
my little anny into two divisions and ordered one to snr- 
round the town. With the other I broke into the fort, se- 
cured the Governor, Mr. Rochblave, in fifteen minutes, 
and had every street secured ; sent runners through the 
town, ordering the people, on pain of death, to keep close 
to their houses, which order they observed, and before day- 
light had the whole town disarmed."* Thus ended the 
splendid, though hazardous, campaign of Clark's little 
army, which was but the earnest of the more brilliant 
achievement that was to culminate in the overthrow of 
the British army in the ]S[(>rtliwest Territory, and give to 
Virginia a small empire, in tlie capture of Vincennes, 
seven months later. 

Up to this time Kaskaskia was the ]S[ew France, and was, 
to the French in America, what Paris was to France. In 
1721 the Jesuits erected a monastery and college there, 
and it was the center of gayety, and fashion, and liappiness. 
"For many years," Governor Keynolds of Illinois, in liis 
history, says, ''Kaskaskia was the largest town west of 
the Allegliany mountains, and was a tolerable one before 
the existence of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or 'New Orleans," 
and was the capital of Illinois during its territorial exist- 
ence, after its capture by the Americans." 

"It is marvelous that the town, being so well fortified," 
says Major Bowman, "and able to have fought successfully 
a thousand men, should be so easily captured by less than 
two hundred half -starved and foot-sore soldiers." The gar- 
rison on that night must have given themselves over to 
revelry, as they were taken wholly unawares, which con- 

■■' Clark's letter tu Mason. 


dition of affairs, through hick and l>oklness, OLirk happily 
took advantage of. Having been taught by the British 
that the Americans killed all j)risoners, the people were in 
despair, and offered tO' become slaves to their captors if 
theii lives and those of their families would only be spared. 
To meet the exigency and to disabuse their minds, Clark 
ordered the assendiling of all the principal men of the town 
who were lamenting their misfortune, and explained to 
them the object of their mission, and that it was not to 
enslave them, l)ut to win their zeal and attacliment to the 
cause of the Americans, and that they could enjoy their 
pro]ierty and be protected in their liberty if they gave their 
allegiance to America. "jSTo sooner had they heard this than 
the}' fell into transports of joy that surprised me," says 
Clark, "and they told me that they had alwaj's been kept in 
the dark as to the dispute between America and Great 
Britain, and had been prejudiced against the Americans; 
that they were now persuaded that they ought to, and did 
that night, espouse their cause, to the number of 1U5, by 
taking the oath of allegiance to the States." Before starting 
on his campaign to Yincennes Clark captured Cahokia. 
His advance on Yincennes and its capture by him are nar- 
rated fully in another chapter of this work.* 

Immediately after the capture of Yincennes, General 
Clark conceived the desire to advance on Detroit, and the 
gi'eat importance of such a move caused him to at once 
commence preparing for it, but there were so many ob- 
stacles in the way that the scheme was finally abandoned. 
His troops were worn out, money became depreciated, the 
failure of promised additions to his army and a strengthen- 

- 8ee Chapters III and IV. 


ing of Detroit's defenses, all tended toward au abandon- 
ment of the project. On Augnst 5, 1779, lie issned an 
order establishing his headquarters at the Falls of the Ohio, 
and soon moved the garrison there to the mainland, on the 
Kentucky side, and drew a plan for the town of Louisville, 
then took up his quarters there. 

The Indians having made frequent raids from Ohio into 
Kentucky settlements, Clark got together about 1,000 men 
and moved to the mouth of the Licking river and started 
for an Indian town, Chillicothe. The Indians having been 
apprised of his coming, fled and Clark destroyed the town 
and crops and moved on to Piqua, where he fought a battle, 
defeating the Indians, when he burned their huts, de- 
stroyed their crops and retreated, having taught the sav- 
ages a lesson. He soon afterwards went to Virginia to 
advocate an attack on Detroit. Whilelie was there Benedict 
Arnold made a raid into Virginia, but was compelled to 
retreat by Clark, at the head of a company, with a loss of 
seventeen. He was a Brigadier-General of the State 
troops, but he did not like it because the State officers did 
not have equal rank with those of the Federation. His com- 
plaint was of no avail, and he was compelled to remain 
under State orders. He a'gain made an appeal to Wash- 
ington for aid to carry out his plans against Detroit, Init, 
owing to the stress of money matters and the dearth of 
troops, the President could lend no aid, but joined Gov- 
ernor Jefferson in approval of the plan. The Governor 
was anxious for Clark to make the trial and issued orders 
for troops and supplies, but, instead of 2,000 men, only 
400 reported at Pittsburgh. He started down the river 
with these, hoping that some others would follow ; one com- 


pany did, but was ambuscaded aud destroyed. This disaster 
had such a discouragiug eft'ect upou both Clark aud his 
troops that the advance was abandoned. After returning' 
to the Falls he had some gunboats made at his own expense 
for the purpose of plying the waters between that place and 
Cincinnati, which materially aided in preventing Indian 
raids both on land and on water. The Miamis still con- 
tinuing to cross into Kentucky, he headed another army 
and marched on their settlements at Chillicothe and Piqua, 
in Xovember, killing many savages, burning their houses 
and destroying their crops, leaving their women and chil- 
dren unsheltered, with winter coming on and nothing to 
eat. The demoralizi^ig eft'ect of the loss of their property 
resulted in keeping the Indians on the north side of the 
Ohio river. A cessation of hostilities occurred between the 
Colonies and England, September 3, 1783, and Congress 
ratified the treaty of peace on January 1-1. 1784. On 
March 1, 1784, Congress accepted the gift of the Territory 
from Virginia, and Clark, seeing no future for him, as he 
was a State officer, sent in his resignation and he was re- 
leased from his comnuind. After Virginia had ceased to 
care for the Xorthwest Territory iind the United States 
becoming neglectful of their interests iu their new pos- 
sessions, tilings began to be badly managed, mostly on ac- 
count of the nonpayment of troops and failure to provide 
them with sufficient provisions and the existence of worth- 
less scrip, which the people had at first taken at par and 
which fell to 1,000 per cent, discount. The murmurs of 
discontent became so loud that there existed great danger 
of the loss of the prestige gained by Clark only a few years 
before. The people petitioned the Kentuckians for the 


return of Clark, and in 1786, by authority of the Ken- 
tucky Council, assembled at Danville, and under sanction 
of Governor Henry, (Jlark congregated his troops at the 
falls and started for the Wabash region. Upon his arrival 
at Vincennes he was hampered by the nonarrival of stores, 
which had been spoiled and delayed by river transporta- 
tion. Finally he marched up as far as Ouiatenon. The 
Indians had retreated. About this time mutiny was rife 
in the camp; pleadings by Clark, even to tears, availed 
notliing, and several hundred deserted. Desertions and 
lack of provisions caused him to return to Vincennes, when 
he detailed 130 men for the garrison. This act, although 
sanctioned by a council of officers, for the protection of the 
local and general interests of the country, was misjudged 
and criticised by his enemies, and when he returned to 
Kentucky he was relieved of all autliority. About this 
time the United States Government assumed command and 
garrisoned Vincennes, by sending Major Hamtranck with 
a company of soldiers here. 

General Clark being relieved of militarj^ autliority, 
unfortunately for his reputation, accepted a Major-Gen- 
eralshij^ in the French service against Spain. That country 
held possession of the Mississippi river to the great detri- 
ment of the American trade, and Clark thought it would be 
a great benefit to the States if he could break the power of 
Spain by the capture of l^ew Orleans, and made a propo- 
sition to raise 2,000 men to accomplish this. His enemies 
immediately reported this item to the Washington Govern- 
ment and steps were taken to stop the contemplated raid 
against a friendly ( ?) government. Clark, finding his mo- 
tives being misconstrued and obstacles placed in his "way, 


abandoned the enterprise and permanently retired to civic 
pnrsnits in Indiana, and settled at (Jlarksville, a town laid 
oil' where Jeffersonville now stands, on a thousand-acre 
tract resei-ved from the ""Clark Grant" for that purpose by 
the United States Government. Here he lived in quiet re- 
tirement and finally became paralyzed in 1809 ; and one 
day, being alone, he fell into an open fireplace, when one 
of his limbs was frightfully burned before assistance 
came. After this accident he was removed to the residence 
of his lirother-in-law, Major William Croghan, near Louis- 
ville, Ky., where he remained during the balance of his 
life. He never married. In 1812 Virginia voted him a 
sword and a pension of $400 per annum. He died Feb- 
ruary 13, 1818, and was buried at Locust Grove, a private 
burial ground at the country seat of his brother-in-law, 
Major Croghan, situated a few miles above the city of 
Louisville, Ky. The court in Louisville adjourned upon 
hearing of his death, and the l)ar appointed Honorable 
John Rowan to deliver an eulogy upon his life and services, 
and passed resolutions of condolence and resolved that the 
members should wear crepe for thirty days as a token of 
respect for the departed. Thus ended the eventful and 
grand career of one of the most remarkable characters in 
American history ; one who deserved more and received 
less than any public man, measured l)y the results obtained 
through his patriotism, energy, foresight and skill. Had 
he received the encouragement and aid to enable him to 
have consummated his advance on Detroit, as proposed and 
urged by him, especially soon after the capture of Vin- 
cennes, the mainstay of English influence would have been 
stricken down, which w'as the feeder and energizer of the 



Indians, and tliousands of lives wonld have been spared, 
millions of money saved, and Canada swallowed np by 
the Union, and English prestige forever driven from the 
Western Continent. The debt of gratitude and honor that 
is yet due him by America has still to be paid, and his 
memory fittingly embalmed on the roll of honor as one de- 
serving immortal fame. To George Eogers Clark, next to 
George Washington, the father of his country, is due the 
iireatness of the Union. 


In the history of Nations we find generally that heroic 
deeds of valor are awarded to military actors in the great 
drama of life, as it passes in review before the gaze of the 
people, but civic actors have achieved victories no less 
worthy of renown gained in quieter ways than amid the 
din of battle, through life's duties well performed. 

The subject of this brief sketch. Reverend Pierre 
Gibault, was born in April, IToT, in the Dominion of 
Canada, and was educated for the priesthood, and in early 
manhood evinced a desire to give his services to the church 
in the western wilds, as a missionary to the pioneers and 
Indians, who were mthout the light of the Gospel which 
leads to higher life and civilization. As soon as he was 
ordained, in 1768, he started for the West along the Can- 
adian border to his objective point, Kaskaskia, where he 
arrived the latter part of the year, and it is said that he 
dedicated the first church erected in the city of St. Louis, 
in 1769. His mission was to the "Illinois Country" and 
hence his labors were confined not alone to Kaskaskia. In 


the year 17Y0 he visited the village of Vincemies. He was 
no ordinary man, and wherever liis mission took him he 
very soon, by his intuition of human character, affability, 
simplicity and sweetness of manners, gained the confidence 
of the settlers and Indians. During his first visit to Vin- 
cennes he was received with the utmost cordiality and he 
soon became a favorite with all classes. In March he re- 
turned to Kaskaskia, his usual place of residence, but for 
several years he continued to pay occasional visits to the 
''Post." He was for a time the only priest in Indiana. 
His zeal and energy were wonderful, liis labors almost sur- 
passing belief.* We find from the records of the church' 
that, in July, 1778, he was at Vincennes (having been won 
over to the American cause at Kaskaskia by Colonel 
Clark), exerting liimself successfully in inducing the 
Frencli inhabitants to dcchire in favor of the United States 
against Great Britain. At this time he had gone to Vin- 
cennes at the instance of Colonel George Rogers Clark, 
in company with Doctor LaFonte as civil magistrate, (^ap- 
tain Jjconard Helm representing the military of Virginia, 
ami Moses Henry, interpreter and envoy to the Indians. 
At Ixeverend Gibault's request a meeting was called at the 
church — the English conmiandant. Governor Abbot, hav- 
ing gone to Detroit and left the garrison of French militia 
under St. Maria Racine — and. througli the Reverend 
Father's persuasive eloquence, the inhal)itants took the 
oath of allegiance to the American cause and the garrison 
and fort were delivered over to C^aptain Helm. Tlius it 
was that the first capture of "Fort Sackville" (and the 
village of Vincennes) was without bloodshed, and wholly 

■■' Law's Hist. Viiueiuic?, p. IK). 


tliroiigli the instTunientality of tlie patriot priest-ally, that 
hero of astute diplomacy — Pierre (libault. Clark, not 
having troops to maintain the advantage gained, and being 
rendered thereby incapable of garnering the fruits of this 
glorious victoi*y of Father Gibault, the village and fort 
were soon retaken by the Englisli commander, Governor 
Ileniy Hamilton. But the seed of liberty had been sown 
and had taken deep root, and as soon as opportunity under 
the protection of Clark's little army offered, the plant sent 
forth its flowers in perpetual bloom, to bless the people 
in all time with their fragrance. The influence of Father 
Giliault's labors were more than local and his name should 
be cherished by American citizens with an ardor fully 
equal to that displayed for LaFayette or Rochambeau, for 
the lieneficent results following Gil)aidt's patriotic zeal, 
his tenacious fidelity to the American cause of liberty, will 
give measure for measure with those great French Gen- 

Following the capture of Vincennes Keverend Gibault 
became pastor of St. Xavier's church liere in 17S5 and 
remained until 1789. 

''In 1788 Father Gil)ault had ah'eady requested the 
l)ish()]) (if (Quebec to recall him from Vincennes, where, at 
that time, he had taken up his residence. When his peti- 
tion, addressed to Governor St. Clair, for a piece of land in 
Cahokia was granted, or seems to have been granted, 
Bislio]) Carroll immediately ])rotest(Ml against this attciu])! 
to alienate church pro})erty to an individual clergyman." 
'Apparently, in consequence,'' says Shea, 'the Keverend 
Gibault left the diocese of Baltimore and retired to the 

■■- ];i.'ttfr (>r F.iihrr S<-liiniilf. Oi''ulier ir., l.S<.):>, Eiirlibli CiMiucst of Noitliucst, 
p. 1S8. 


Spanish Territory beyond the Mississippi.' " He finally 
settled in ]^ew Madrid, Mo., where he died early in 1804. 
Of Father Pierre Gibault it may well be said : 

For duties well performed, on earth, 

In measure full lie gained renown; 
Wliicli, but in feeble type, presaged 

For him. Heaven's glorious crown. 


Colonel Francis Vigo was one of the notable and dis- 
tinguished citizens of the old town the last quarter of the 
eighteenth and the first third of the nineteenth centuries, 
and his name should ^er be held in grateful remembrance 
by the country at large. He is spoken of by some writers 
as of Spanish birth, but others contend that he was a native 
of Sardinia,* but went into Spain's military service at a 
very early age ; but finally he left the army and drifted 
into the trade of furs and hides and general merchandis- 
ing after coming to America. From JSTew Orleans he came 
to St. Louis about the year 1775. As a trader he became 
well and favorably known among the Indians and the 
French inhabitants of all adjacent settlements, and by his 
friendly demeanor and just treatment of the Indians in 
his intercourse with them, they became attached to him 
and trusted liim implicitly. Being asked once by an old 
citizen whence his great influence with the Indians, he 
replied: ''Because I never deceive an Indian." After 
Colonel Clark had captured Kaskaskia and through strat- 
egy had gained possession of Post Vincennes, and Colonel 

•■■ It i- more iirobablc that he wns of Spanish birth, nnd caiiio from the city of 
Vigo, situnteJ on the bay of Vigo, in the south of Si>ain. 



Hamilton had retaken it, thus making Clark's position at 
Ivaskaskia precarious, if not untenable, with his small 
army, the expirations of many of the enlistments of his 
troops occurring at this time, Clark determined to make a 
bold strike at Hamilton's position. Before doing this, how- 
ever, it was important to learn, through spies, the situation 
at the Post. In his dilem- 
ma, it is related by some 
writers, Colonel Clark 
made Colonel Vigo, his 
diplomat and agent, go to 
Vincennes and ascertain 
the strength of Lieutenant- 
Governor Hamilton, the 
quality of the defenses, and 
the feeling of the French 
citizens, before determining 
the next step in his cam- 
paign. And it is said that 
Vigo was captured while 
on that duty, at the mouth 
of the Embarrass river, 
eight miles below Vin- 
cennes, but subsequently re- 
leased by Hamilton, through the intluence of citizens, noth- 
ing incriminating having been found upon him indicating ho was a spy. The condition of his release was that he 
was to return directly to his home in St. Louis, which was 
then a possession of Spain. Ii is said that he adhered to 
his promise, but inmiediately after his arrival he delayed 
no longer than was necessary to get a relay, before pro- 




ceediiig to communicate with Clark at Kaskaskia. That 
he was the medium of the information to Clark there is no 
doubt, because the latter alludes to the arrival of Colonel 
Vigo from Vincennes, bringing the information desired ; 
whether Vigo was in possession of this infonnation for 
Clark as special envoy or not is not positively known. 

Following in the wake of the capture of Hamilton's 
forces, Colonel Vigo appears on the scene as Colonel 
Clark's friend and helper in times of need. He cashed 
Clark's vouchers for necessary expenses of the army, as the 
latter had failed to receive funds from Virginia to pa}' the 
soldiers, or for his commissary supplies for the army. 
Colonel Vigo, having accumulated much wealth by trad- 
ing, he dealt it out with a liberal hand to .sustain the credit 
of the Virginia forces and keep that State's credit at par. 
And yet, to the shame of that State and this United States 
Government, which became in a few years afterwards the 
beneficiary of the whole Northwest Territory, Colonel Vigo 
died a poor man, not having received a cent's remuneration 
from either Government for his lavish advances of 
many thousands of dollars, through his generous and patri- 
otic impulses in behalf of the American cause. Petitions to 
Congress for his reimbursement proved futile for many 
years; he died March 22, 1836, before the scales of justice 
had assumed an equilibrium. Colonel Vigo married a 
Miss Elizabeth Shannon, who was born in Vincennes, 
March 23, 1770, but she died in early life. So when he 
died, having no relatives, he left his claim against thj 
Government to his nephews, Arehiliald 13. McKee and Vigo 
McKee, children of Sarah Shannon, who married Dr. 
Samuel McKee, Surgeon United States Army at this 


Post, and perhaps to Captain R. Buntin's family, as they 
were connected through Mary Shannon, wife of the Cap- 
tain. Those interested continncd to prosecute the chiim, 
until it was iinally referred to a court of claims, which gave 
judgment in 1875 for $8,616 principal, and interest to the 
amount of $41,282.60, making a total of $49,898.60. 

During Colonel Vigo's prosperity, in the closing days of 
the eighteenth century, he built a most elegant residence 
in the town. It stood on a lot near, or on the site of the 
present Odd Fellows' hall. It was surrounded by a veran- 
da painted white, its blinds the purest tint of green. Its 
large parlors with their high ceilings, imported mantels, 
its floors inlaid with diamond-shaped pieces of black wal- 
nut and white oak, highly polished, made it a marvel of 
beauty in those days. It was this beautiful parlor that 
Governor William Henry Harrison occupied as his first 
residence upon his arrival in January, 1801, at the invi- 
tation of Colonel Vigo, it having been just completed; and 
the Governor, not finding a suitable house for a residence, 
accepting the invitation. Colonel Vigo filled the otfice of 
Colonel in the 1st Reg'iment in the Territorial militia 
in the early part of the last century ; he resigned May 5, 
1810. In 1805, February 16th, he was granted a license to 
keep a ferry from his land on the northwest side of tha 
Wabash river and opposite to the town of Vincennes across 
said river." Some writers have doubted that Colonel Vigo 
ever resided in Vincennes. Nothing is more susceptible of 
proof than that he was a resident here for (piite fifty years. 
ITc^ o\vne(l, in addition to his town property (he was pos- 
sessed of considerable property adjoining town), a farm 

"'■■Executive Journal of the Territory, i>. 12(5. 



three miles southeast of the town, the residence of his 
nephew, the late A. B. McKee, where he resided many 
years. But, before the close of his life, he resided in town, 
and died in a frame building on Main street, between 
Fourth and Fifth streets, adjoining the old W. J. Heberd 
house, a few doors west of the Bishop block, attended by his 
faithful friend, who had been his ward in early days, 
'^Aunt" Betsy La Plante. To this fact the writer has had 
oral testimony of living witnesses, on the 8th day of May. 
1902, to wit: Mr. Eibridge Gardner, undertaker; Mr. 
Vital Bouchie and Mrs. Elizabeth Andre — the latter being 
now about ninety-three years of age. Colonel Vigo was 
Inu'ied in the city cemetery, where the grave is marked by 
a simple slab of sandstone, with the inscription : 


AGED 96. 

lie was probably a CJatholic in his youth, but according 
to Z. T. Emerson, in the History of Knox County, p. 70, 
he did not die in that faith, although a trustee of St. 
Francis Xavier church from 1818 to 1821. lie was loved 
and honored by his felloAV-citizens, as few men have been. 
The city honored him by naming one of her principal 

•■' Note.— The dare of 1835 is an error; it was really 1836, as the record of the 
undertakers, Andrew Gardner & Son, .shows. The junior member of thi? firm, 
Mr. Eldridgre Gardner, who is yet living;, remembers all the eircumstanres con- 
neeted with the death and burial. Mrs. Doo'or W. W. Hitt,just across the street, 
being buried the same day, and the inscription on her grave's shaft bears the date 
of Marjh 22, 1836. Colonel Vigo was born about 1740, and calculating from this' 
he would have been ninety-six years old at the time of his death. 


streets after liiiii, and the eoiintv has named one; of her 
townships in honor of him to perpetuate liis memory. The 
Vincennes University has the only oil painting of this hero 
and patriot; and it is the writer's recollection that one of 
the first notes of the old State Bank of Indiana, chartered 
in 1836, had upon it a vignette likeness of him. I think 
he presented the bill either to the Vincennes Antiquarian 
Society or to the University. In the lapse of time it has 
been lost, l)nt may turn up some day as a valued relic in a 
coming age. When Indiana Territory became a State it 
named one of the principal northern counties in his honor; 
and to show his appreciation of the compliment, a stipula- 
tion was embodied in his will that a sufficient sum required 
to purchase a bell for the court house should be paid to 
Vigo county. This stipulation was complied witli and the 
bell provided thereunder is still in use on tlie court liouse 
at Terre Haute, to call the solons of justice to render jus- 
tice that was denied its giver during life by his Govern- 

!N"o more fitting epitaph need be placed over the tomb of 
Colonel Francis Vigo than the eulogy passed on his life 
and character by General St. Clair, Governor of the 
Xorthwest Territory, in his report to the Secretary of 
War, in 1Y90, in which he said: 

''To Mr. Vigo, a gentleman of Vincennes, the United 
States are much indebted, and he is, in truth, the most 
distinguished person I have almost ever seen." 

Brave patriot, noble, good and wise! 

Let all who view thy lonely tomb, 
Remember that beneatli there lies 

One worthy spring's perpetual bloom. 



Another notable personage who figured most creditably 
in the early days of Vincennes, was Francis Busseron. 
He it was who joined Father Gil)ault in winning over the 
French people to the American canse, upon the advent of 
Captain Leonard Helm, Colonel Clark's commissioner to 
Vincennes on August Q, 1778. When Father Gibault re- 
turned to Kaskaskia and informed Colonel Clark of the 
interest and loyalty M. Busseron had displayed in winning 
over the French from the English, he sent him a commis- 
sion as Captain, made him district commandant and au- 
thorized him to raise a company of militia to aid the 
Americans. When Winthrop Sargent, Secretary of the 
Territory in 1790, made inquiry of the citizens and act- 
ing authorities by what right they had been disposing of 
the public domain. Captain F. Busseron was chosen at the 
head of a committee appointed by the citizens, to formulate 
an answer, which showed tliat he was considered one of the 
leading men of the town. It was Captain Busseron who 
gave shelter to Mary Shannon, whose father it is said had 
been murdered by the Indians, and who had sought him as 
a friend of her father. He became her foster father and 
raised her to womanhood, when she was united in marriage 
to Captain Bobert Buntin, a leading citizen. She is the 
character, now celebrated as "iVlice of Old Vincennes," 
to whom Maurice Thompson gave the honor of raising the 
American flag over Sackville upon its capture by Colonel 
Clark. The anachronism is excusable in the author, as he 
must have a heroine for the dramatic scene of the sur- 

01. 1) VINCENNKS. 167 

roiulci'. Had she Ix'cii Ixini ;i little cnrlicr tlinu Mav 1, 
1777, the event might have been historically correct in all 
particulars, since Captain Bnsseron was the officer of the 
town and a captain of the militia, as the reputed foster 
father, Gaspard Roussilon, appeared to have been. His- 
tory furnishes evidences that the old citizens honored Cap- 
tain Busseron and the succeeding generations have perpetu- 
ated his memory by naming one of the principal streets of 
the city after him, and tht^ county its most northern town- 
ship in his honor. And many of his descendants have oc- 
cupied honorable positions, one of whom is Judge Charles 
Busseron Lasselle, of Logansport, Ind., now an octoge- 
narian. General Hyacinth Lasselle, who was a resident of 
Vincennes early in the beginning of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, built the Lasselle Llotel, that stood on the corner of 
Perry and Second streets, where Bierhaus Brothers' large 
new building now stands. This hotel was built in 1812, 
contained tifteen rooms, and was noted as the official "head- 
quarters" of Gen. Thomas Posey, who succeeded Harrison 
in 1813. The building was Imrned October 23, 1871. 

Chapter VIII. 


THE niuth President of the United States was Will- 
iam Henry Harrison, son of Benjamin Harrison, 
an opnlent and distinguished citizen of Berkley, 
Va., and a close friend of President Washington, and was 
horn Fehrnary 9, 1773. His father was a memher of the 
Continental Congress and was svibsequently Governor of 
Virginia. Young Harrison had all the educational ad- 
vantages Hampden Sidney college could impart, and 
his mind was not slow^ to reap the wealth of knowledge. 
After concluding his collegiate course he became a pupil 
of the celebrated Doctor Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, 
with the intention of becoming a physician. But his pa- 
triotic and adventurous disposition caused him to throw 
down the scalj^el and medicines and seek a position in the 
army, when he received the office of Ensign from Washing- 
ton. He reported to the commander at Fort Washington 
and the first duty assigned him was the care of a pack-train 
bound for Fort Hamilton, on the Miami river, forty miles 
from Fort Washington. 

Although but a youth, and rather delicate in appearance, 
he performed his duty like a veteran, instilling into his 
subordinates the value of temperance, which would enable 
them to bear hardships they othei"wise could not. He was 
soon promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and joined the 




army placed under the eonnnand of General Wayne, who 
was appointed to reclaim the region lost by General Arthur 
St. Clair. 

On the Maumee river the Indians were encountered in 
large numbers, estimated at 2,000, and the battle ensuing 
was long and bloody, but they were so badly defeated that 
they pleaded for peace. Here Harrison's service was so 
valuable and conspic- 
uous he was promoted 
to the rank of Captain 
and given command at 
Fort Washington. 

The British posts in 
the jN'orthwest about 
this time were surren- 
dered and he was oc- 
cupied in supplying 
them. While thus en- 
gaged he married a 
Miss Symes, a daugh- 
ter of John Cleaves 
Symes, a frontier resi- 
dent on the Maumee. 

In 17 9 7 Captain 

Harrison resigned his 


commission in the 

army and was appointed Secretary of the IsForthwest Ter- 
ritory, and ex-officio Lieutenant-Governor, General St. 
Clair being Governor. At that time no one could purchase 
tracts of land in less quantity than 4,000 acres, and Harri- 
son, in spite of violent opposition, had the law rescinded 


for tlic l)Oiiofit of poor settlors wiio had liitlierto to pur- 
chase their lands second-handed, often at exorhitant prices. 

In 1800 the liorthwest Territory was divided, the east- 
ern portion embraced in the State of Ohio, and called 
the Territory of Ohio ; and the Avestern portion, inclnding 
that region which is now the States of Indiana, Michigan, 
Illinois and Wisconsin, bnt then called Indiana T-erri- 
tory. Harrison, then at the age of twenty-seven, was ap- 
pointed Governor of Indiana Territory, and immediately 
after also Governor of Upper Louisiana by John Adams, 
President. When he was appointed Governor there were 
bnt three white settlements embraced in his jurisdiction, 
one on the Ohio river at the Falls, Vincennes on the Wa- 
bash, and a French setttlement on the Kaskaskia river. He 
arrived at his seat of government, Vincennes, January, 
ISOl, his Secretary, John Gibson, having preceded him 
and entered upon the formation of a Territorial Govern- 

Governor Harrison's services were invaluable to the 
Washington Government, and during his administration, 
thirteen treaties were made with the Indians, and all of 
them were confirmed by Congress. His administration had 
been so clean and satisfactory to the powers that be, that he 
received reappointments by Jefferson and Madison. 

During Governor Harrison's administration of the Ter- 
ritory, that which gave him the most reno^vn was the vic- 
tory he gained over the Indian Confederacy, headed by 
Tecumseh and his brother Ollimacheca, the Prophet, at 
the battle of Tippecanoe, which occurred November 7, 
1811,* about seventy-nine miles above Vincennes near the 
site of LaFayette. 

'■The episode leading up U> this buttle will he fdiind ichi eil in the chapter re- 
lating to Harrison's mansion. 


Til IS12 lie w'lis ;i|)|i(iiiil(Ml hy I'rcsidciit Madison ('oiii- 
iiiaiider-iii-C'liicf of tlu' Xoi'tliwcsrcrn ariiiv, with orders to 
retake Detroit, Avliicli had recently ignoniinioiisly l)ecn sur- 
rendered by General Hull. Upon this appointment he 
resigned the office of (Governor and set ahont raising an 
army to accomplisli his orders. Before he was ready to 
advance, General Winchester liad taken tlie initiative 
against orders, and was defeated, with a loss of his whole 
command, in killed and eaplnred, amonnting to ahont 
1,000 men. 

This premature attack and disaster following it delayed 
the -advance on Detroit, and on acconnt of the swamps to be 
crossed to reach it, General Harrison, wdio had now been 
appointed Connnander-in-Chief of the army, suggested 
that the attack lie delayed nntil the winter, or, if sooner, by 
water, wdiich was done; and on the 10th of September, 
('ommander Perry, with his gallant sqnadron, met the Brit- 
ish Heet and at the close of a heroic struggle found the 
American navy victorions. General Harrison now crossed 
the lake, took possession of Sandwich, the British retreating 
before him, and sent a In'igade which seized Detroit. The 
British and Indian allies retreated, bnt made a stand on 
the banks of the Thames river, bnt this Avas of short dnra- 
tion, and General Proctor's forces snrrendered ; bnt the 
Indians fonght longer, before retreating, leaving their 
great Chief, Tecumseh, slain on the battlefield. This great 
battle gave peace to the Northwestern frontier, victory 
again perching on American arms, and Harrison receiving 
the plaudits of his countrymen. 

Soon after this, owing to want of harmony between tlie 
Secretary of War and himself. General Harrison resigTied 


his commission, much to the regret of President Madison. 
He, however, remained in his country's service as com- 
missioner, to treat with the Indians, until 1816, when he 
was chosen a Representative to Congress from Ohio. 
Charges having been made, by some of his enemies, of cor- 
ruption, in relation to the commissariat of the army, a com- 
mittee of investigation was appointed, who completely vin- 
dicated his character, and paid a high compliment to his 
patriotism, honesty and devotion to public service. In 
1819 he was elected to the United States Senate from Ohio, 
where he ably served his State. In 1828 President John 
(i^uincy Adams appointed him Minister of the Republic of 
Colombia, but upon the inauguration of General Jackson, 
a bitter foe of Harrison, in 1829, General Harrison was 
recalled, when he returned to private life at North Bend, 

General Harrison was accused of being pro-slavery, but 
he replied to the accusation as follows : 

'Trom my earliest youth, and to the present moment, I 
have been an ardent friend of human liberty. At the age 
of eighteen I l)ecame a member of an abolition society 
established at Richmond, Va., the object of which Avas to 
ameliorate the condition of slaves and procure their free- 
dom by every legal means. The obligations which I then 
came under I have faithfully performed. I have been the 
means of liberating many slaves, but never placed one in 
bondage. I was tlie first joerson to introduce into Congress 
a proposition that all the country above Missouri sliouhl 
never have slavery admitted into it," 

In 1836 the friends of General Plarrison advocated his 
claims for the presidency, but the opposition to the de- 


mocracy was divided and Martin Van Buren was elected ; 
but at the close of Van Buren's administration General 
Harrison was the unanimous choice of the A\^iig party, 
and he was triumphantly elected to the presidency. He 
entered upon his duties with the brightest prospects of a 
successful administration, having selected an able Cabinet, 
with Daniel Webster as Secretary of State; but in one short 
month he was stricken with pleurisy, and after a brief ill- 
ness he died April 4, 1841, honored and beloved by his 
countrymen. His remains were interred at ISForth Bend, 


l*i"esi(k'nt Zachary Taylor, tradition has it, once lived 
here early in the nineteenth century, and occupied the 
Benjamin Parke cottage, just south of Governor Harrison's 
residence, corner Hart and Water streets, and it may have 
been true, as he is said to have participated in the battle of 
Tippecanoe. History* tells that he was stationed at Fort 
Harrison (Terre Haute) in 1812. 

He w;is boTu in Virginia, but came to Kentucky in his 
infancy, his father settling on a farm near Louisville. His 
ancestry were distinguished patriots. He was the grand- 
son of Zachariah Taylor, son of James Taylor, the second, 
who was born in 1674, and died in 1729. His gi-and- 
father's sister, Frances Taylor, was the mother of Presi- 
(..ent James Madison, as the writer learns from his family 
tree of genealogy in his possession. He received such edu- 
cation as the country schools affordc*!, but early developed 
a patriotic feeling and a desire to tight llic Indians, who 

'■■■Abbott's lli.'^tory Presidents I'liited States, p. :!*io. 



Avcre often niakiijg- raids into the State, llis father, Richard 
Tajlor, succeeded in. getting him a commission as Lieuten- 
ant in the United States Army. He was first stationed in 
ISTew Orleans. Having risen to the office of Captain, he 
was assigned to Fort Harrison, a fort General Harrison 
had hastily constructed while on his way (at Terre Haute) 
to the Prophet's town, near Lafayette, to engage the head 

of Tecumseh's confed- 
*eracy and overthrow 
it. The year follow- 
ing the building of the 
fort it was attacked by 
Indians, but C^aptain 
Taylor nobly defend- 
ed his position and 
beat back his assail- 
ants ; and f(n' his gal- 
lant conduct was pro- 
moted to the office of 
Major. At the termi- 
nation of the war with 
England the a r m y 
was curtailed, and he 
was reduced in office 
to that of Captain, when he resigned. But he was re- 
stored to his majorship and sent to Fort Crawford, on 
Fox River, which empties into Green Bay. During his 
service there he was appointed Colonel, and subsequently 
participated in the Black Hawk War, one episode of which 
is worth recording. He had in his force a large number of 
militia who had volunteered for service in Illinois only — 



Black Hawk liavinu' crossed liock Kiver, then supposed to 
be the dividing line of the State — and they declined to go 
fnrther, and a council of M'av was held ; many speeches 
were made, when finally Taylor was called on for his 
opinion. He gravely rose and said : "Gentlemen and fel- 
low-citizens, the word lias been passed on tn iiic from 
Washington to follow Rhick Hawk, and to take yon with 
me as soldiers. I mean l<> do both. There are the flatboats 
drawn up on the shoi'o ; there are Uncle Sam's men drawn 
up behind ynu (in tlie ])i'airie." The argument was con- 
clusive, and, in ;i few hours, they were all across the i'i\c'r 
and in hot pursuit of their foe. 

In 1836 he was sent to Florida to assist in suliduing the 
Seminoles. The Avar was long and bloody, but he came out 
conqueror. In ^Fay, 1838, he was commissioned General. 
After two years of hard, wearisome service in the Ever- 
glades, and at his request, he obtained a command endu-ac- 
ing Louisiana, Mississip]u, Alabama and Georgia, wath 
headquarters at Fort Jessup, in Louisiana, in 1810. In the 
spring of 1845 Congress passed the act annexing Texas 
to the Union. This brought on the war with Mexico over 
a boundary question, and General Taylor Avas called into 
active service. The first serious encounter witli the Aiexi- 
cans was in the battle of Palo Alto, when he met an army 
of 3,000, who were aiding an attack on Fort Brown. With 
a less nundjer Taylor, after a day's battle, forced the enemy 
to retire, but they took up a position three miles distant, 
at a place called Resaca de la Palma. Here he won an- 
other victory, and Fort Brown was relieved. Aflcr these 
battles the title of Brevet Major-General was contVrrcd on 
him. His next victory was at Monterey, where ihc Mcxi- 


can General, Ampudia, capitulated after severe fighting. 
General Scott, shortly after this, assumed command of all 
the American forces in Mexico, and Taylor was left at 
Monterey Avith only about 5,000 troops for the garrisoning 
of the surrounding posts. But in February this army 
was raised to 6,000 and a forward movement made. Fifty 
miles south of Monterey he received word that Santa Anna 
was advancing on him, near the village of Buena Vista, 
with 20,000 troops. Santa Anna sent an aide with a flag 
of truce, demanding his surrender. General Taylor's reply 
was, "General Taylor never surrenders ;" and, as he rode 
along liis ranks, he said : "I intend to stand here not only 
so long as a man remains, but so long as a piece of a man 
is left." The battle then commenced, February 22, 1847, 
and lasted ten hours. The night following the enemy re- 
treated. American loss, 700 in killed and wounded; Mexi- 
cans, 2,000. 

These battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palnia, Mon- 
terey and Buena Vista brought General Taylor imperish- 
able renowm, and such popularity that he was given the 
presidential chair in 1850 by a grateful people; but he 
prematurely died in July of the same. year. His remains 
were interred at Frankfort, Ky. 


The war chief, Tecumseh, may well be rated as one of 
the foremost leaders of his race. He was a chief actor on 
battlefields from Louisiana to Canada, and his fame was 
coeval with the Northwestern country. His warwhoop was 
as magic to his fellow-countrymen who dared to follow 
where he led. He was a member of the Shawnee tribe, and 


tradition gives the coast of the Gulf of Mexico as the home 
of his ancestry; but in tlie evolution of time the tribe be- 
came denizens in the Lake Region, at the head of the Wa- 
hash Kiver. In the early exploration and settlement of this 
part of the Western Continent his tribe was found the most 
implacable the v^hites had to contend with. They, in many 
ways, seemed to 1)C iu advance of the surrounding Indians, 
and their skill and strategy were superior in battle, and 
foes not easily placated in peace or conquered in war. 

l^othing of Tecuniseh's boyhood is known, nor how soon 
he visited the village Che-pe-ko-ke, of the Pinkeshaws; 
but the probability is that it was at an early day, as this 
was a large trading post. His brother, the Prophet, exer- 
cised such influence over the tribes in this region, in a 
spiritual ^^'ay, that Tecumseh gained additional favor 
thereby, and occupied as high a position in the temporal 
affairs of the adjacent tribes as the Prophet did in spirit- 
ual matters. Being thus exalted with his race, he sought 
to form a confederation of all the tribes with a view of 
heating back the eucroachments of the whites and annul- 
iug the treaties that had been made, from time to time, 
and especially those entered into between Governor Har- 
rison and themselves. His plans were deep-laid ones, and, 
had a consolidation of the tribes, ISTorth and South, been 
consunnnated before the Prophet's forces were attacked, 
in his absence on his federating mission, disaster might 
have occurred to the whites in all this country. 

His visit to General Harrison, in the summer of 1811, 
on which occasion he denied the right of the separate tribes 
to make treaties, and intimated that they were held to bo 
\'oid Ity the Indians, and that they would not live up to 



them, convinced Harrison of his danger, and he immedi- 
ately commenced perfecting plans to circnmvent Tecumseh 
and the Prophet. Having received additional troops in the 
fall of 1811, he started for the Prophet's headqnarters, np 
the Wabash, determined to force a settlement, hj treaty or 
battle. The result of this campaign was the battle of Tip- 
pecanoe, on N^ovember 7, when the Prophet's and Tecnm- 
seh's power was broken, and the proposed alliances with 
other tribes in the Sontli were frustrated. After this dis- 
aster Tecnmseh returned to his tribe in the northern part 
of the State, but the prestige of his warriors, left after the 
battle, was gone, and his scheme of confederation was aban- 
doned ; but for several years afterward he gave trouble 
to adjacent settlements. Being disgusted, he quitted the 
northern part of tlie State, and allied himself to the tribes 
in Michigan, and joined hands with the English, whose 
headquarters were at Detroit. 

After Commodore Perry's notable victory over the Brit- 
ish fleet in a naval battle on Lake Erie, on the 10th of Sep- 
tember, 1814, General Harrison crossed the lake, took pos- 
session of Sandwich, the British forces retreating. Proctor 
leading the English and Tecumseh the Indians. They 
made a stubborn stand on the banks of the River Baison, 
but the battle was short and decisive. Proctor surrendering 
the English forces, but the Indians, under Tecumseh, re- 
treated ; but, after a little longer fighting, they fled, leaving 
their chief slain on the field. 

It seems the irony of fate that the two greatest Indian 
warriors of the time, the Prophet and Tecumseh, his 
brother, should meet complete disaster under the leader- 
ship of General William Henry Harrison. The question 


who killed Tecumseh has ever been an unsolved connn- 

Among the Kentucky troops at the battle when he was 
killed was Colonel Richard M. Johnson, who claimed to 
have been the slayer of the gi-eat Indian hero ; but many 
of his comrades doubted his claim, and said that the fight 
was so fast and furious, of the pell-meli fashion, that it 
would have been impossible to positively know the soldier 
who did the deed. The writer knew well and conversed 
with an intelligent gentleman who was engaged in the bat- 
tle who doubted the accuracy of Johnson's claim. I^ever- 
theless he got the credit of it, and was elevated to the vice- 
presidency, by the euphonious refrain, during the can- 
vass of the presidential election, of ''Rumpsy-dumpsy, Old 
Dick Johnson killed Tecumseh." The writer heard often 
the catchy phrase in his boyhood days, which no doubt exer- 
cised a potent influence upon many voters. 

In after years similar phrases, as ''Tippecanoe and Tyler 
too" and ''Old Rough and Ready," were made to do good 
service in presidential campaigns. 

Had Tecumseh been surrounded by other environments, 
where education and civilization exert noble and elevating 
influences, hd might have been a benefactor to his race and 
his memory cherished coeval with time. He was astute, 
brave, broad in intellect, and not devoid of noble impulses. 
As it is, he was known to his race only as a brave and 
heroic leader, and to the white man as a dauntless, intrepid, 
and astute warrior, fitly ranking with Osceola, Black 
Hawk and other famed Indians. And yet, if his memoiw 
is perpetuated, it must be by his foes wlio will not with- 
hold such praise as is justly due him. 



The subject of this sketch was a notable character in old 
Vincennes. He was born in Dauphin County, Pennsyl- 
vania, in 1775 ; settled in this town in 1803, and engaged 
in the mercantile business, which he continued until he 
died, November 5, 1840. He was married in 1804 to Miss 
Sarah Harvey, of Maryland. In 1813 he was postmaster 
of Vincennes, and Recorder of the County of Knox. On 
January 29, 1814, he met the misfortune of having his 
house and store burned, with all the records of the Re- 
corder's office, the postoffice, and three children. In this 
conflagration, besides his family loss, goods and valuables 
to the amount of $20,000 were consumed. To make the dis- 
aster more horrible, an explosion of three hundred pounds 
of gunpowder in the cellar occurred, killing one man and 
injuring another so that he subsequently died of his inju- 
ries, and doing great damage to adjacent property. 

He Avas a volunteer captain in the army with Governor 
Harrison, and was aide-de-camp to the commander-in-chief 
in 1812. He w^as in the battle of Tippecanoe, and I will 
here record a letter written by him just after his return 
home from the battle, as a historical contribution of that 
memorable event. It was written to his father, Colonel 
William Hay, of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania: 

"Vincennes, Novcml)er 20, ISI 1. 

■^'Dear Father — On the 15th of October last I was ordered 
to join a troop of cavalry to wliich I belonged. It was then 
with the army on its march against the hostile Indians up 
the Wabash. I set out, and in three days overtook the army 


on the 21st at Fort Harrison, eighty iiiik's north of this 
place. Eight days after my arrival the army took up the 
line of march, and on the 6th day of this month we got in 
sight of the Prophet's town. The Indians, seeing our ap- 
proach, sent out a flag of truce, and begged of the Governor, 
who was commander-in-chief, to retire to a creek one-half 
mile back, and they would meet him in council the next 
day. He did so, and we encamped for the night on the 
ground which they had pointed out. Our troops consisted 
of one regiment of United States troops, 450 strong; three 
troops of horse, amounting to 120 men ; two companies of 
mounted riflemen and about oOO militia on foot. The 
enemy were said to be 700 warriors. The night was dark 
and rainy. At half past four in the morning the Indians 
commenced their attack by shooting down our sentinels, 
after which they raised the warwhoop and made a violent 
onset ; they attempted to force our lines. Our men one and 
all behaved with great spirit. The battle lasted four hours 
and five minutes. It is said to be the hardest battle that 
has been fought since the revolution. We had fifty-four 
men killed and 125 wounded, together with a great many 
horses. During the action the Indians drove off forty-six 
head of beef cattle, which was all we had. x\t daylight 
the Indians retreated and left us to bury our dead and to 
take care of the wounded, which took up a whole day. We 
had the satisfaction of finding in and around our camp 
fifty -four Indians killed and saw trails of blood where a 
great number had been carried off during the action. On 
the 8th we reconnoitered the to^vn of the Indians and found 
they had fled and left an iinmense quantity of com, beans, 
kettles, guns, and a variety of other things, all of which 


we destroyed, except what was necessary for the army. We 
then hnrned the town, which consisted of about two hun- 
dred houses. On the 9th we took up the line of march for 
home, and arrived at this pLace on the 17th, safe, and 
sound, and unhurt. 

"I never in my life felt so grateful to Providence as the 
morning after the battle. A great many balls passed very 
near me; they appeared to be like a shower of hail. Sev- 
eral men were shot about me and a great many of my in- 
timate acquaintances were killed on the spot. The yells 
of the savages and the groans of the dying were truly dis- 

"I am in haste, our town is quite in a bustle and I have 
not time to add more. JOHN" D. HAY." 

When the Presbyterian Church was organized here in 
1806 he became one of its first elders. 

Subsequent to the loss of his children he was blessed 
with three other children — Mary Ann, born in 1815, who 
married Doctor Joseph Maddox, a physician of Vincennes, 
each of whom died early; Nancy Ann, born in 1817, mar- 
ried John W. Maddox, the latter a prominent merchant 
(succeeding his father-in-law) and a stanch church mem- 
ber, dying in March, 1879 ; and George Duffield Hay, who 
was a prominent merchant in Vincennes many years, but 
who removed to Philadelphia, where he died in September, 
1895, leaving one son, Henry Gurley Hay, a prominent 
banker and financier of Cheyenne, Wyo. The relict of Mr. 
Maddox died in February, 1902, aged eighty-five years, in 
Chester, Pa., leaving only one daughter, Mrs. Sarah Hay 
Vance, relict of the late Reverend Joseph Vance (who was 


a worthy pastor of Vincennes Presbyterian Church for 
many years), now a resident of Cheyenne, Wyo. 

The old Hay building stood on the corner of First and 
Main street*;, the site of the old American Hotel, which 
gave way to the La Plante Hotel of today. 


l^athaniel Ewing, the subject of this sketch, was born 
April 10, 1772, in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Na- 
thaniel Ewing, was born in Colerain County, Ireland, and 
emigrated to America to escape persecution in 1725. His 
father emigrated to Pennsylvania and died there in 1785. 
His son, Nathaniel Ewing, followed farming and trading 
on the Ohio and Wabash rivers, and his first trip to Vin- 
cennes, with a pirogue loaded with apples, salt, etc., was 
made in 1788, when he was only sixteen years old, and he 
finally settled here in 1807, having received the appoint- 
ment of Receiver of the Land Office at this place, which 
office he efficiently held through seveTfal administrations, 
and until the year 1824. 

He was elected president of the first bank established 
in Vincennes. It was a private institution, but, subse- 
quently, it was adopted with four other banks, and given a 
charter by the Legislature. Like many similar institutions 
in the early days of the State, this bank went into liquida- 
tion in 1824. 

Mr. Ewing was engaged, during his early career, in poli- 
tics, having been elected to the Legislature, and was a mem- 
ber when the Territory became a State in 1816. In the 
controversy upon the slavery question, which was then 


HISTORICAL skp:tches 

niucli discussed, I13 espoused the cause of freedoui. After 
retireuieut froui office, in 1824, to his fann, Mout (JLair, 
ho spent the reniaiudev of his days quietly until his death, 
August n, 1S46. 


Mr. Ewing was a notable figure in business and social 
life here, in the first years of the past century, and occupied 


a leading position as a successful financier. lie married 
Miss Ann Breading on October 1, 1793. Eiglit children 
were the result of the union. His eldest daughter, Mary, 
married Doctor William Carr Lane, of St. Louis ; Caroline 
married Doctor Geo. \Y. Mears, who settled at Indianapo- 
lis ; Rachel, who married Daniel Jencks, of Terre Haute ; 
Harriet married James Farrington, of Terre Haute, and 
Sarah married the Honorable John Law, who was a 
prominent attorney and member of Congress from this 
town. His sons were George W. Ewing, who became a 
prominent attorney and banker; William L. Ewing, a mer- 
chant, who, in early life, emigrated to St. Louis, and be- 
came a prominent and successful financier; and James, 
who occupied the old family mansion until his death. He 
was the grandfather of our fellow-citizen, the Honorable 
W. L. Ewing, ex-Mayor of St. Louis, but now occupying, 
during the summer months, the old family residence, ]\Iont 
Clair, which has been in possession of the family for nearly 
a century. It is situated four miles east of the city, is a 
most beautiful suburl)an liome, and gains in picturesque 
b-i'auty under the skillful liand of its present occupant, with 
the passing years, and presents an ideal site, embowered 
with forest trees and carpeted with swards of blue grass 
for picnicing in the summer days. 

The patriarch of the family lies entombed in the city 
cemetery, but is still represented by thrifty and honored 



One of the most notable persons the writer became ac- 
quainted witli when he came to Vincennes, more than half 
a century ago, was the subject of this brief sketch. He was 
bom in 'New Jersey in September, 1790, and located in 
Vincennes in 1817, engaging in the hardware and tinning 
business, preferring this place to either Cincinnati or St. 
Lauis as one for successful business. His first visit to Cin- 
cinnati was about 1810, but he returned East; finally set- 
tling in Vincennes. Soon after coming here he was mar- 
ried to Miss Hannah Foster, of Jefferson County, this 
State. Mr. Smith combined with his business trading be- 
tween this place and New Orleans. He died in 1871, leav- 
ing six children — Foster and Charles, who engaged in 
business in Terre Haute ; Parmelia, Sarah, John, and Ed- 
ward H. remaining at the old homestead, corner of Fifth 
and Main streets, built in the year 1833. 

Mr. Smith was left an oi*phan at two vears of age, and 
when little more than a youth started out in the world to 
seek his fortune. The West then oft'ered inducements to 
energetic young men, and he soon found himself in the 
business whirl of life. Being a genial man, of good habits, 
and having an extraordinarily retentive memory, success 
followed his business ventures. His sons followed his call- 
ing in Terre Haute and Vincennes, and have built up a 
flourishing and profitable trade, retaining the old firm 
name of fifty years ago of jST. Smith & Sons, reminding 
one of the names of firms seen in the Eastern cities, where 
the style of them is the same as they were a hundred or 
more years ago, and where the sons have followed closely 



in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers. Such 
families are a credit to their race and city in buihling 
it np and giving character and prosperity to its general 


Among the honored old citizens of Vincennes mnst be 
numbered Mr. John Wise, born in October, 1706, who was 
conspicuous as an ac- 
tive business man for 
more than fifty years. 
He was a native of 
Pennsylvania and of 
stanch, patriotic Ger- 
m a n descent. His 
mother lost part of her 
scalp in an Indian raid 
upon the family settle- 
ment. His father and 
mother dying the same 
day, Mr. Wise, being 
the eldest, was left to 
care for the minor chil- 
dren. He came to Vin- 
cennes in 1816, and en- 
gaged in the saddlery 
business, and as he 
prospered he sent, annually, for a member of the fam- 
ily left at the old homestead, until all were brought 
here. His business enlarged, and soon he became eon- 
tractor for carryino- the United States mails from Lou- 




isville, Ky., to St. Louis, Mo., and, following that, he en- 
tered into merchandizing with his younger brothers, Sam- 
uel and William, under the firm name of J. S. & W. J. 
Wise, and added to their business pork packing, mostly for 
the Southern trade, by means of flatboats, and after- 
ward steamboats in the New Orleans trade. Mr. Wise mar- 
ried Miss Hannah McCall, of Kentucky ; the fruit of this 
union being Mary, who married a merchant, Mr. Jedediali 
Heberd, and Arabella, who married R. J. McKinney, who 
became a successful banker and Mayor of the city during 
his career, each surviving their husbands to the present 
time. Mr. Wise purchased the Judge Benjamin Park resi- 



deuce, situated just below the Harrisou mansion, on the 
river, and which, it is said, was built the same year as the ^j.,^ 
latter. He bought it in the earliest years of the past cen- ' \^ v^ 
tury, and resided in it until his death in 1884. This resi- 
dence, in former days, was a picturesque, as well as a 
stately -looking, building, and is one of the few old houses 
left in the city of a former age. Mrs. Schultz, a florist, now 
ornaments the old garden with beds of beautiful flowers — 
lit tribute, as if in memory of the dead but glorious past; 
but the building's corridors have ceased to echo l)aek the 
happy voices once vocal in their labyrinths. 

Mr. Wise was a broad, enterprising business man, and 
was honored and respected by all who knew him. lie was 
wise enough, as he prospered, to enter large tracts of public 
lands, and left to his heirs many valuable fanns in this and 
adjoining counties. He died at the good old age of eighty- 
eight years. 

The Wise family were all notable, stanch business men, 
and some of their worthy descendants still reside in the 


Mr. Samuel Judah settled in Vincennes earl}' in the 
nineteenth century, and assiduously devoted himself to the 
]]ractice of law, and must be classed as one of its older 
American citizens. He early rose to distinction as a learned 
and astute attorney, and not many suits were instituted 
in which he did not cither represent the phiintiff or de- 
fendant. But his fame as a successful lawyer was not alto- 
gether local, as clients from other States sought his legal 
opinions. But, probaldy, the greatest triumph he ever 



achieved in forensic debate was in the case of The Uni- 
versity of Vincennes vs. the State of Indiana, and it is 
very doubtfnl if this institution wonld be now in existence 
had it not been for his shrewdness, indomitable energy and 

:"4iLv;nt'it<!.fe"..'»-"^ Suf; 


his excellent attainments in legal lore. The State had ar- 
bitrarily, and without legal right, sold the lands belonging 
to the University, and had appropriated the proceeds of 
the sales. Suit could not be instituted against the State 


for the recovery of tlie property without the permission of 
the Legislature. Mr. Judah procured the passage of a bill 
granting this authority, the suit was brought in Marion 
County, and the trial resulted in a verdict for the Univer- 
sity. An appeal was taken by the State to the Supreme 
Court, which reversed the verdict of the lower court. Mr. 
Judah then appealed the case to the Supreme Court of 
the United States. In this last tribunal he was victorious. 
Before this the State tried to show, by various ways and 
schemes, that the charter of the University had lapsed, and 
employed six of the most noted members of the Indiana 
bar to accomplish this result; but they were defeated on 
eveiy point. This contest presented the most crucial test 
of Mr. Judah's legal abilities possible, and he emerged 
from it with the highest honors. He was learned outside 
of the law, and maintained his love for science and the 
classics during his long career. He was a man of aesthetic 
tastes, as was manifested in his efforts to advance agricul- 
ture and floriculture. Having selected and purchased a 
piece of land two miles east of the town, susceptible topo- 
graphically of rare possibilities in art improvement, he 
proceeded to lay the foundation for a beautiful suburban 
home of rare picturesqueness. He not only preserved the 
forests in their nascent state, but added to their stock trees 
and shrubs from other localities. Happily the homestead 
has been kept intact by his son, the Honorable ISToble B. 
Judah, a prominent attorney of Chicago, under whose 
skillful and vigilant eye it has been transformed into one of 
the most beautiful and picturesque country residences in 
the county. 


Mr. Jiidali was born in the City of New York in 1798, 
and was of distinguished parents, who emigrated to Amer- 
ica in 1Y50, and espoused the cause of the patriots in the 
Revolution. He settled in Vincennes in 1818, and was 
married to Miss Harriet Brandon, of Corydon, Ind., in 
1825. He was honored by the citizens of Knox County 
with a seat in the Legislature in 1828, 1836-38-39 and 
1840. He died at Vincennes in 1869. Mrs. Judah's family 
was no less distinguished than her husband's, having 
sprung from patriotic revolutionary ancestors. Mr. Judah 
had six children to arrive at maturity, to wit : Caroline, 
the wife of Dr. John R. Mantel ; Catherine, the wife of 
General Lazarus ISToble, both now deceased, and the present 
living ones — Alice, the widow" of the late Franklin Clarke ; 
Samuel B., Deputy Internal Revenue Collector for this 
district; John M., a prominent attorney of Indianapolis, 
and ]i[oble B., a distinguished attorney and politician of 


One among the early settlers in Vincennes, who helped 
to build it up, is the subject of this sketch. 

He was born in England in 1788, and, emigrating to 
this country, landed in Vincennes in 1811. He was a 
trader, and engaged in general merchandizing, and at first 
bought his goods at Pittsburgh and brought them here l\y 
boat. With his first stock of goods he started with a crew 
who, after bringing the boat up the Wabash River as far as 
the mouth of Embarrass River, hearing of the battle of 
Tipj)ecanoe, after taking it up that stream a few miles. 


left Mr. Coleman and fled to Vincennes tlirongli fear of 
the Indians. 

While on one of his trading trips to Pittsbnrgh after 
goods he married Miss Elizabeth ISTichols, and In-ought her 
to his Western home. Mr. Coleman was a man of remark- 
able genins and skill, and soon turned his attention to va- 
rious kinds of business. Among others was that of a mill- 
wright, and he built a mill, probably the first in the town, 
about where the present gas works stand, and it was there 
as late as 1855. About the time Mr. Coleman abandoned 
milling he built a little steamer and named it after his 
daughter Amanda, who became the wife of our worthy 
fellows-citizen, Mr. Charles Methesie, and is yet living. 
His residence, when the writer knew him, was a two-story 
frame house that stood on Main street, adjoining the city 
hall lot, where the drug store of H. Wat j en now stands. 

Several Ijrothers came to this place about the same time 
Mr. Coleman did, and William, a prominent man, married 
the late William Burtch's sister; but he was lost with a 
trading boat of produce between Vincennes and l^ew Or- 
leans, leaving a wife and daughter, the latter an estimable 
lady, the present Mrs. Caroline Lusk. Her widowed 
mother married Captain John D. Martin, who held many 
oflicial positions during the early years of Territorial Gov- 
ernment of Indiana. 

Besides Mrs. Methesie, Mr. Coleman leaves behind him, 
yet living, Captain John T. Coleman, wlio valiantly 
answered his country's call during the early part of the 
Civil War, and served through it. During his service he 
contracted a disease from which he is disabled from active 



Mr. Jeremiali L. Coleman died February 5, 1865, leav- 
ing behind him a spotless record for honesty and good citi- 


Among the bright young New Englanders who migrated 
to the West in the early part of the nineteenth century 
was the late Judge John Law, who became a resident of 
Vincennes in 1817. The acquisition of the great North- 
west Territory and the establishment of its capital here 
drew some of the brainiest, best educated men from their 
Eastern homes to this town. Contention for fame and 
honor produced a rivahy worthy of emulation, and, as the 
fittest survive competition only, the meed of praise is due 
the subject of this sketch, since he became the recipient of 
public favors seldom exceeded by popular favor. His 
natural and legal ability, liis genial disposition, suavity of 
manner, ready wit and bonhomie made him a general favor- 
ite with the people, the source of all power ; no wonder, 
then, that he was honored by his fellow-citizens. His legal 
lore soon elevated him to the bench, where he presided with 
digiiity and rare discrimination in balancing the scales of 

He was United States^ Commissioner to adjust land 
titles in tliis district, but never filled the office of Receiver 
of Public Moneys for this land district, as some have as- 
serted, as will be seen from the list of said officers given 

The manifest evidences of statesmanship in due time 
caused his elevation to Congress from this district ; he was 


subsequently elected to the same office and proved himself 
a valuable and influential member. He married Miss 
Sarah Ewing, daughter of Honorable Nathaniel Ewing. 
In later life he removed to Evansville and died there, 
October 7, 1873. 

Judge Law was a fluent and graceful writer and gained 
a national reputation for his contributions to the Colonial 
history of the Territory of Indiana, and especially of this 
city. His son, the Honorable Edward Law, of Evansville, 
survives the father. 


In relation to the early settlers of Vincennes, no one 
is more fruitful of interesting incidents than the subject 
of this sketch. lie was born in Rutland, Vt., in 179'3, and 
losing his father, he being then the head of the family, 
left in indigent circumstances, determined to seek his for- 
tune in tlie great West, and arrived with his mother and 
several sisters and a brother in Cincinnati, O., in 1811. 
The Indian War detained liim there until IS 14, when lie 
and family arrived in Vincennes. 

Mr. Burtch was small of stature, but was remarkaldy 
versatile in intellect, and although his education was lim- 
ited, li(^ early demonstrated his aptitude in the transaction 
of business. Starting with a very small capital, his atten- 
tion to business and strict integrity and thrift so<5n placed 
him in the front nxuk of the business men of the town. l>ut 
in a few years his strict attention to business made inroads 
upon his constitution, and his health giving way he sought 
respite in the country and Ijuilt the large, fine residence. 


for those days (about 1835) three miles east of the town 
(now owned by the widow Emison), and a little rural life 
so restored his health that he returned to his mercantile 
business, and he then built a fine residence on the half 
square on the site of Mr. B. Kuhn's residence, corner of 
Fourth and Buntin streets. Mr. Burtcli engaged in trad- 
ing South, as well as merchandizing, and was soon ac- 
counted the wealthiest man in the county. lie was public 
spirited and did as much as any man in the town to ad- 
vance its general interests, and early became a factor in all 
that was calculated to elevate the people morally, socially 
and intellectually. Early he became a member of the 
Presbyterian Church and was its steadfast supporter; a 
member of the Board of the Vincennes University, and 
became its treasurer and held the office until he retired 
from business on account of his declining years. He was 
also an officer in the old State Bank of Indiana as long as 
it existed. 

Besides the buildings named he erected a business block 
at the corner of First and Main streets, opposite the old 
American Hotel, the present site of the La Plante Hotel. 
But Mr. Burtch's prosperity failed him in his declining 
years through the lack of correct methods of his partners 
in business and loss by the payment of security debts for 
friends who failed in business, and he died comparatively 
a poor man. 

Mr. Burtch's first wife was Miss Margaret Hanna, by 
Avhom he leaves one daughter living, Mrs. Lansing Heberd, 
of Evansville. By the second wife, Mrs. Eunice Hanna 
Docker, two daughters survive liini, ]Mrs. Margaret 
McLaughlin, of Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Laura Lewis, of 


Indianapolis. One of his sisters married Mr. William Cole- 
man, the father of Mrs. Caroline Lusk, now residing in 
this city; he dying, she married Captain John 1). Martin. 
Another sister married Wm. J. Heberd, for a long time a 
leading merchant of this city. Members of the familv 
still reside here and in Terre Haute. 

He died abont the year 1880, honored and lielovod by 
all who knew him. 


^Vbont the year 1816, Vincenncs received many substan- 
tial citizens from the East, they anticipating Horace 
Greeley's advice, given at a later jieriod, to young men to 
'"go West and grow up with the country" ; and Andrew 
Gardner, the father of our worthy fellow-citizen, Elbridge 
Gardner, was one of the many enterprising young men to 
seek a home here at that period, 181G. He was born in 
Springfield ]\[ass., in 1792, where he learned the cabinet 
business. He arrived here in advance of his wife, Hanna 
Gardner, nee Hanna Swift, who was born in Camden, JST. 
J., in 1Y99. 

He beffan business in a frame l)uildin<i' on Third street, 
near and south of Main, about where Thuis' pop establish- 
ment now stands. In those days all furniture was made 
by hand, the undertaker's business being combined with it ; 
and for many years it was a valuable calling. 

Mr. Gardner was prominent in business, church and 
Masonic circles, and the author has often had the pleasure 
of sitting with him at fraternal gatherings. He was a 
valual)le and stanch member of the Methodist church. 
When his oldest son, Elbridge, the head of the present 


undertaker's establisliment of Gardner & Sons, arrived at 
manhood, the firm was changed to that name, and the 
father in a few years retired from business on account of 
advanced age. He died during the year 1860, his wife 
preceding him a few j^ears to her resting place in the city 
cemetery. Andrew Gardner was honored and loved by 
all who knew him. 


The recent death of Mr. Watson tells the living that 
one more link in the chain that connects the past long gone 
to the' present has been broken, leaving behind only two 
living persons in this city born as early as 1810, Mr. Vital 
Bouchie and Mrs. Elizabeth Andre. 

Mr. Watson was born April 13, 1809, in the village of 
Vincennes ; his career has been a checkered one, but his tire- 
less energy and business foresight have served him well 
and always kept him advancing to the front. In his youth- 
ful days he and Mr. Bouchie footed it to St. Louis and be- 
came apprentices to the tailoring business. In after years 
he returned to Vincennes and, forming a partnership with 
the late Samuel R. Dunn, opened a tailoring establishment. 

He married Miss Lydia Fellows, daughter of Captain 
Louis Fellows, who built the large grist and sawmill called 
the White Mill, on the site of the west end of Harrison 
Park. A distillery was subsequently attached to it. He 
continued in the tailoring business until 1849. 

jMr. Watson filled many ofiices of trust. He received the 
appointment under President Taylor of Postmaster at this 
place in 1849, and held the same until 1853, when he re- 
ceived the appointment of collector, at the dam of the 


Wabash T^avigatinn ('(»iii])aiiy at the grand ra])i<ls. He 
subsequently served as passenger conductor of the E. & 
T. H. R. R. Co., after Avhich he became their agent at Vin- 
cennes. ^'\^lile acting in this capacity he and the late 
Charles Dawes conducted a lumber yard. Leaving this 
business he became fuel agent of the O. & M. R. R., which 
place he resigned to commence hotel business with the late 
Captain Isaac Mass, and subsequently built tlu^ Union 
Depot hotel, which is still conducted by his son, Mr. 
Edward Watson. Some years ago he retired from active 
business and died recently at the good old age of 93 years, 
dying in May, 1902. 

Mr. Watson left behind him six living children: Mrs. 
Jane Reynolds, Mr. Edward Watson and Mrs. Ruth 
Davenport, of this city; ^Irs. Ida ]\bd)onald, of New 
York; Mr. William Watson, of Aurora, 111., and Mr. Rob- 
ert Watson, of Torre Haute. The deceased were Samuel, 
of Jndiana])olis, and Mrs. Laura Heinly, Danville, 111. 


One of the early settlers of Vincennes was the Honorable 
John Moore. He was a native of Virginia and born in the 
town of Staunton in the year 1788. At an early age he 
became a citizen of Vincennes and may have participated 
in Harrison's campaign against the Prophet at the battle 
of Tippecanoe, but there seems to be no positive evidence 
existing to that effect ; the records of the Territorial Execu- 
tive proceedings show, however, that on May 10, 1812, 
he was appointed an ensign in the first regiment of the 
Indiana militia. After his service in the Territorial 
Arniv he assumed the occupation of contractor and builder 


and lie had much to do with the erection of the old court- 
house, town hall, Episcopal church, and many others, be- 
sides his own large brick residence, now one of the oldest 
buildings in the city. He filled many offices of trust, hav- 
ing been Judge of the first Probate Court, President of the 
Board of Trustees of the Borough from 1820 to 1823, was 
a director in the Vincennes branch of the old State Bank of 
Indiana, and filled otlier positions of trust in the city with 
ability and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He re- 
ceived the appointment of Postmaster at this city under the 
administration of President Buchanan in 1856, and served 
until his successor was appointed in 1861. 

He died December 23, 1864, leaving his consort and two 
cliildren, yet living, Mrs. Ella Smith, wife of Mr. E. H. 
Smith, a worthy gentleman of this city, and ]\rrs. W. B. 
Chadwickj of Chester, Pa. 

CYRUS Mccracken allen. 

In commencing to Avrite of Old Vincennes it was in- 
tended to deal with matters occurring only previous to the 
latter half of the nineteenth century, but as a link should 
be left between Old and JSTew Vincennes, so that the thread 
between the past and present may be taken up by some fu- 
ture historian, the writer knows of no fitter character to 
perform that office than the subject of this sketch, and his 
name will be included in the present volume. 

Cyrus McCracken Allen was born in Clark county, Ky., 
April 2, 1817, of revolutionary ancestry, and was reared 
to manhood on his father's farm, when he entered the mer- 
cantile business with his elder brother. While thus en- 
gaged he conunenced the study of law and finally quit his 


store to enter the law department of the Transylvania Uni- 
versity, Lexington, Ky.,from which he graduated ahout the 
year 1837, soon after which he married Miss Mary Lander, 
daughter of Mrs. ISTancy Lander, in 1838, proprietress of 
the Winchester hotel, and set his face westward to find a 
home. His first stop was at Paoli, Ind., 1841, whence he 
drifted to Petershurg, Ind. He came to Vincennes in 
184-4. He soon became a leading member of the bar ho re. 
LTis genial disposition and faculty of forming ac(|u:nut- 
ances was such that 
he soon became 
exceedingly popular 
with the masses. His 
knowledge of law 
was great, and his 
retentive m e m o r y 
served him to great 
account, as he could, ..-f^-' 

witli alacrity, refer 
to decisions and ad- 
duce points of law, 
when his conferees 
for the same matter 
had to delve into the 

tomes of the law at colonel c. m. allen. 

the expense of time. 

In the days of the Whig party he was a stanch mend)er 
of the same, but when the Republican party had its birth, 
he became affiliated with it, and formed a close alliance 
with Abraham Lincoln, with whom he was a personal 
friend ; and was one of the first to advocate his nomination 


to the l^i'csidciiev in tlio old ]'inc(')ni('s Gnzette ; and for 
wliicli ai<l and friendslii]) ^\v. Lincoln, after lie became 
President, intimated that he conld have almost any office 
desired in his gift ; but, with thanks, he declined to accept 
any. He was twice elected to the Legislature and was 
elected Speaker of the House one session. He was the nom- 
inee of the Republican party in 1866 for Congi*ess, but was 
defeated by the Honorable W. E. Niblack, the district 
being overwhelmingly Democratic, and many of the Re- 
])ublicans being away in the army. In the beginning of 
the (Jivil War he was a powerful factor in raising the first 
regiments in this city and county to go to the front. 

Having lost his consort, he married Miss Sarah Lander, 
who survives him. But it was in his relation to the city of 
Vincennes, in a commercial and material way, that endear 
him particularly with the people. He was one of the fore- 
most in all tlie enterprises that promised the city prosperity. 
He became a factor as advocate in the building of the O. & 
M., E. & T. H., and Cairo Railroads. What money he 
made in these enterprises he did not invest in stocks or 
bonds, l)ut ])nt it into houses, to aid in building up the city. 
He built the first large brick raihvay depot at the head of 
Second, reaching t<> Water street, and adjacent houses, 
inclnding the Slinkard residence and some business houses 
on Second street. Besides these he built the brick cottages 
on Seventh street, between Perry and Seminary, and the 
large two-story frame house that once occupied the corner 
of Sixth and Shelby streets, and others not now remem- 
bered by the writer. He purchased the Bonner Mansion, 
corner Fifth and Main streets. He was several times a 
mend)er of the citv council and aided that bodv with his 


finul (if knowledgo nnd matured jndgineiit ; \vas a nicnilx'i' 
of the Board of University Trustees and lent his influence 
in wresting from the State its ill-gotten funds taken from 
that institution. 

Soon after the close of the war his health commenced 
failing and he became incompetent to resume his law 
practice, having given it up for railroad enterprises aiu] 
politics ; and ere long he was numbered witli the licroes nud 
worthy men of a past generation. 

Had all the citizens of Vincennes possessed the ])ush, 
benevolence and enterprise of Colonel Allen, the city 
could boast a population of 50,000 people. 

Of his children only two survive : Ex-Lieutenant ( "yrus 
M. Allen, .Tr., United vStates Army, and Louis Allen. 


Among the elder citizens living in Vincennes when the 
writer came here, more than half a century ago, was a 
French officer once counted among hosts the great Xa])<> 
leon marshaled in battle ari-ay. John Francis Bayard 
was born under military environments at (li-eiioble, 
France, September 11, ITsii, where there was an arm of 
the army. He was owv of the soldiers who led the attack 
on Moscow, liussia, when the French army met a signal 
disaster. On the rc^treat he became so exhausted he fell 
by the wayside and but for following comrades would 
have perished there. Fpon the downfall of his great com- 
numder he resigned his connnission, eniigrate(l to .Vmcrica 
in 1S17, and finally settled in N'incennes. On dnlv 7. 
1S2^^, he marrie(l ]\Iiss Mary .\nn i>oneau, a member of a 
prominent ]>ioneer family, which emigrated here from 



( 'aiuula. He engao'ed in inereliandizing and dnring the 
most of his life lived in a frame house on the corner of 
]\rain and Third streets. His wife having inherited much 
land acquired under the commandant, St. Aiige, during 


his reign here, he raised much produce, which, with 
pelfry taken in his store, he sold in l^ew Orleans and at 
other points on the Mississippi river. He was successful 


in business. He was nnol)tnisive ami nKtdest in manner, bnt 
proved a good financier, a faculty tliat seems to have been 
bequeathed to liis sons. He died ratlier prematnridy, on 
February 14, 1853, leaving his beloved consort to care for 
and raise nine children; but slie proved equal to the task 
imposed by Providence, ^frs. Bayard was a I'cmarkable 
personage, modest, gentle, yet assertive when <x'casion re- 
quired; petite in stature, but was fairly active, though af- 
flicted witli heart disease for many years, at the age of 
ninety, at her demise. The impress she and her husband 
made upon their children, and the town for good, has been 
quite notable. All of their sons became l)ankcrs. The 
eldest, Samuel, commencing as deputy clerk in tlic Knox 
County Circuit Court; but he soon relincjuished that office 
to become a clerk in the Evansville branch of the Old State 
Bank of Indiana in 1851, and so proficient did he prove, 
in Xovember of the same year he was promoted to be teller 
and held the position until the bank went into final 
liquidation. The old bank having lived its appointed time 
he was made cashier of the Bank of the State of Indiana, 
and in 1865, when the national banking system was in- 
augurated, that bank was reorganized under the name of 
the Evansville Xational Bank, which c(»ntinued under 
that name until 1885, when it asstimed tlie name of the 
Old National Bank. Upon the reorganization of this l)ank 
Mr. Bayard was promoted to the presidency <»f it. 

Although Mr. Bayard was a self-made man he became 
one of the most influential citizens of his city, lie was a 
generous donor to all charities and proved a wise coun- 
selor and promoter of all public enterprises inaugurated 
to benefit the town's interest, and when he died, Septem- 



ber o, 181)8, he was sincerely inourned and has been since 
hekl in renienibranee by the general pnl)lic. 

The second son, John F., was a snccessfnl l)ank('r, bnt 
died early in life. Joseph J>., now a resident of the city, 
is the snccessfnl })resident of the prosperous First Na- 
tional Bank of Vincennes. 

Of the daughters, Susan married M. A. Pilard ; Mary 
Louise, Prosper Elnere ; Adelia, Marcelle 1). J.acroix ; 
Eleanor P., Charles Weisert ; Alary Elizabeth, Ex-Mayor 
ir. V. Somes, Sr. ; JMargaret Clotilda, II. S. Cauthorn, 
Esq., all yet living in this city. 

Chapter IX. 


THE tirst lodge of Free Masons instituted in the great 
West was at Vincennes, Marcli 13, 1809, under a 
dispensation issued by the Grand Lodge of the State 
of Kentucky. A dispensation was issued August 27, 1807, 
hut owing to untoward circumstances the l)rethren of the 
craft here then could not avail themselves of its provisions 
before the term for which it was issued had expired. A 
second one, upon ap])lication, was granted September 1, 
1808, and a lodge was organized under it ]\[arch I'l, 1809. 
The following members were present at this organization, 
to wit : Jonathan Taylor, P. M., of Abraham Lodge, Xo. 
8 ; John Caldwell, W. M., late of Union Lodge, ^o. 92 ; 
Charles Fisher, W. Al., late of Brownsville Lodge, ISTo. GO ; 
John Gibson, F. C., of Lancaster, Pa., Lodge; Henry Van- 
derberg, W. J\L, Army Traveling Lodge, 'New A^ork. John 
Gibson, F. C, was raised to the degree of a Master. The 
first applicauts for membership were Parmenas Beckes, 
William Prince, John Duflield Hay and Hezekiah Brad- 
ley, U. S. A., on the 17th day of March, 1809, when they 
all took the E. A. degree. To Parmenas Beckes belongs the 
honor of becoming the first initiated in the Indiana Toi-ri- 
tory. Unfortunately a little time after this he came to an 
untimely end through a duel. Captain Beckes lieard of a 
report reflecting on tlu> honor of his step-daughter, a dash- 



ing and accomplislied girl, emanating from Dr. Scull, and 
inmiediately called liim to account. The doctor admitted 
that he had said : "If she is as good as she is pretty, she is 
a jewel." A duel resulted from the altercation, in which 
the Captain lost his life. All honor is due our deceased 
brother for the vindication of the honor of his family ! ISTo 
man dies in a better cause. The false code of honor 
bronght on the sad catastrophe. 

The Vincennes Lodge, at its first institution, was mim- 
l)ered 15, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of tlie 
State of Kentucky. Wlien Indiana Territory was organ- 
ized into a State, the Vincennes Lodge took the initiatory 
step looking to the organization of a Grand Lodge, and 
called a meeting at Corydon, July 17, 1817 ; the local lodge 
being represented by General W. Johnson. This conven- 
tion took the initial steps toward the organization of the 
Grand Lodge, and adjourned to meet again at Madison, 
January 12, 1818. At the Madison convention this lodge 
was represented by Captain Benjamin V. Beckes, and 
upon an organization being effected, the Captain was 
elected Grand Junior Warden. He suri-endered the char- 
ter of Vincennes Lodge, ISTo. 15, to the Grand Lodge of the 
State of Kentucky, and received in its stead the new char- 
ter of Vincennes Lodge, 'No. 1, dated January 13, 1818, 
under the Grand Lodge of the Territory of Indiana. Gen- 
eral W. Johnson was appointed proxy of the Grand 
Master, by the Grand Lodge, to institute the new Vin- 
cennes Lodge, which duty he formally performed on Janu- 
ary 1, 1818, installing the following officers: Elihu 
Stout, W. M. ; John B. Drennon, S. W. ; John Decker, J. 
W. ; llcnry Euble, Treasurer ; Volney T. Bradley, Secre- 
tary ; Jacob Catt, S. D., and H. Dubois, J. D. 


Among tlie important events connected with the early 
history of Vincennes Lodge was a visit by the Grand 
Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Kentucky, 
Colonel Joseph H. Davies. He presided at the meetings of 
the lodge on the 18th, 19th and 21st days of September, 
1811, and conferred the second and third degrees npon 
many of the brethren, which work was probably the last 
lodge work of this distinguished Mason and soldier. He 
was then in command of a corps of mounted rangers, on 
their way to help the Indiana troops under Governor 
Harrison, who was preparing to settle the Indian question 
with the Prophet, Tecumseh's brother. x\t the battle of 
Tippecanoe he was killed in leading a brilliant charge on 
his savage foes. With him fell Thomas Randolph and 
Colonel Isaac White, both members of Vincennes Lodge, 
and for whom the lodge members wore crepe for thirty days 
in token of their sorrow for their patriot brethren. If the 
members of the Masonic Lodge distinguished themselves 
as patriots upon the field of battle in behalf of their coun- 
try, those in the civil walks of life were none the less fa- 
mous. General W. Johnson, the founder of Vincennes 
Lodge, a native of the State of Virginia, was one of the 
most distinguished members of the Order. He was the 
first attorney-at-law admitted to practice before the Terri- 
torial bar; was the first postmaster of the Northwest 
Territory, which embraced Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois 
and Michigan. He was Auditor of Indiana Territory 
in 1813 ; was afterwards commissioned Treasurer, which 
office he held until a State Government was fonned in 
1816. He and John Rice Jones compiled the first revision 
of the laws of Indiana, which was bound and publislicd in 



this city hj Elihii Stout, wlio was at the time conducting 
The Western Sun. He was several times elected Legislator 
and was chairman of a committee to give answer to a peti- 
tion of the pro-slavery element of the population of the 
Territoiy, who memorialized Congress to legalize slavery 
in the Territory. This committee advised against said 
grant and the whole subject was then and there buried 

Colonel Thomas H. Blake, a member of this lodge, was 
prominent in military circles, and became a member of 
Congress, and Alexander Buckner, another member, was 
Grand Master of the State in 1818, and after emi- 
grating to the State of Missouri he became a member of 
the United States Senate from that State. John Gibson, 
another member, was a distinguished citizen and was Sec- 
retary, by appointment, at the same time that General 
Harrison was appointed Governor of the Temtory, from 
the State of Pennsylvania, by Thomas Jefferson. He ar- 
rived here in July, 1800, and in the absence of Governor 
Harrison (who did not reach here until January, 1801), 
he set about organizing the Territory, it having been cre- 
ated an independent one. He continued his duties until 
1812, when he then became Governor, ex-officio, after Har- 
rison's resignation, and held the office until Thomas Posty 
became Governor in 1813, when he again assumed the du- 
ties of Secretary, and held that office until the State was 
admitted into the Union in 1816. Governor Gibson re- 
tired from office with the love and esteem of all the factions 
then in the Territory, having kept aloof from all entang- 
ling alliances that might hinder him from dealing out 
justice to all citizens alike. 


Benjamin Vincenncs Beckes, who is said to have been 
the first native born citizen of this town in 1786, was of 
American parentage, a soklier at the l)attle of Tippecanoe, 
and commanded a company in the Bhick Ilawk War , he 
was a mendjer several times of the Territorial Legislatnre, 
was elected twice as sheriff and was generally pojonlar with 
the people. 

Waller Taylor was elected by the first session of the 
State Legislatnre as a United States Senator from Indiana. 
He was also a Major in Harrison's army at the battle of 
Tippecanoe. The gallant John Davies and Thomas Ran- 
dolph, who fell in this battle, were, under the direction of 
Taylor, buried side by side ; and he took a pin from Ran- 
dolph's bosom, clipped a lock of his hair, and transmitted 
them to Randolph's wife ; he also cut the initials of the 
dead soldiers' names npon a tree beside the grave so that it 
might be known, should occasion occur, to locate and re- 
move the bodies. 

Thomas Randolph, born at Roanoke, Va., who fell in 
this same battle, was Attorney-General of the Territory, 
having been ap]i<iinte<l by Governor Harrison. 

William Prince, another member, was a representative 
in Congress, and a member of the committee which located 
the capitol at Indianapolis. 

Elihu Stout, who was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 
of the State in 1827, was bom in ISTewark, jST. J., April 16, 
1782, and emigrated to Lexington, Ky., when quite young; 
learned the printer's trade and came to Vincennes in 1S()4, 
and issued tlie first newspaper in the ISTorthwest, -Tuly 4 of 
that year, called the Indiana Gazette. He was one of the 
alilc men of the new empire just forming. A further notice 
of liiiu will be found in (ho press article. 


Henry Yanderburgii was a Captain in tlie regular army 
in the Revolutionary War and became a member of the 
Legislative council of the l^orthwest Territory, appointed 
by President Adams, in 1779, and was elected president of 
the coimcil. He was subsequently one of the Territorial 
judges and Vanderburgh county was named after him. He 
was the grandfather of our fellow townsman, Mr. Harry 
V. Somes, Sr. 

Robert Buntin was a Captain of the United States 
Army and participated in the Indian Wars of the North- 
west. He was Clerk and Surveyor of this county and 
Buntin street was named in honor of him. He married 
Mary Shannon, the heroine of Maurice Thompson's ro- 
mance, "Alice of Old Vincennes." 

Robert Evans was a Territorial attorney, a member of 
the State Legislature, and a General in the Territorial 

Ephriani Jordan was a distinguished ofhcer in the War 
of 1812 ; and he and two other magistrates, James Johnson 
and Antoine Marichall, laid off the first township in 1801, 
and many others of equal distinction to the foregoing might 
be mentioned, avIio were Masons and who played an im- 
portant part in the early settlement of Indiana Territory. 
Lack of space only renders it necessary for the writer to 
forego the pleasure of any further detailed mention in the 
wav of individual recognition. 

Vincennes Lodge, No. 1, remodeled, refitted and re- 
furnished its hall in the most sumptuous, commodious and 
magnificent manner, with storage, kitchen and banquet 
attachments, and where all the fraternity, from Counnand- 
ery to Blue Lodge, find delightful homes. There is none 


superior to it in the, Stiite. It was dedicatod on Ascension 
Day in May, 1890, when adjoining lodges participated 
in the work, and at the banquet, the following song of wel- 
come was written l)y the author and used on the occasion: 

wel('o:mf; song. 

Welcome, Knights, with heart and hand, 

From the country, far and near, 
Coming as a joyous band, 

Like Judean pilgrim-seer, 
Who, in garments travel-worn. 

Looking for a star to shine. 
When the Savioiir slionld be born, 

First miglit worship at His Shrine. 

Lo ! He came, and meekly died, 

To redeem mankind and save; 
On a cross was crucified. 

And was laid within a grave. 
But in triumph He arose 

Upward to His throne to reign: 
For, though murdered by His foes, 

He came not to earth in vain. 

Let all people praises sing ; 

And ye hosts, angelic, give 
Adoration to our King, 

Sacrificed that we might live. 
Yes, sweet anthems sound abroad, 

And bring forth rich diadem 
For the Clu-ist, our risen Lord, 

Blessed star of Bethlehem. 

Masonry, from its establishment in Vincennes, has been 
antagonized to a greater extent than in most towns ; never- 
theless it has grown and will continue to grow, ever exert- 
ing a wholesome influence when opportunity offers. Being 
non-sectarian and having for its foundation the principles, 


equality, brotherly love and cliarity, and being governed 
by a patriotic devotion to country, under divine guidance, 
it has kept apace with the passing years, and no earthly 
j)ower can stay its progress. The present officers of Blue 
Lodge, 'No. 1, are Edward Bierhaus, W. M. ; W. C. Kelly, 
S. W. ; E. F. Tindolph, J. W. ; J. T. Boyd, Treasurer ; C. L. 
Haughton, Secretary; E. H. Buck, S. D. ; W. H. Weed, 
J. D. ; F. D. Foulks, T. ; membership 124. Vincennes 
Chapter, No. 7, was instituted May 20, 1857 ; membership 
70. Vincennes Council, ISTo. 9, was instituted May 20, 
1857 ; membership 44. Vincennes Commandery, No. 20, 
was instituted February 8, 1869, with the following char- 
ter members : Gardiner H. Plummer, Samuel R. Dunn, 
John T. Freeland, John Kyger, Albert Hayward, W. F. 
Pidgeon, Hubbard M. Smith, James li. Baird, Charles 
Temple and A. J. Colburn. The following are the present 
officers : G. W. Donaldson, E. C. ; E. J. Julian, General ; 
H. J. Foulks, C. G. ; DeLou Burke, Prelate; C. L. Haugh- 
ton, S. W. ; E. F. Tindolph, J. W. ; J. T. Boyd, Treasurer ; 
G. W. McCoy, Recorder; W. H. Weed, S. T. ; O. M. Willis, 
S. B. ; W. M. Gilmore, W. ; F. D. Foulks, S. ; membership 


The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a fraternal, 
benevolent and social institution, and has exerted a good 
influence in this community. Wabash Lodge, No. 20, I. 
O. (). F., was instituted by dispensation February 5, 1845, 
and was regularly chartered October 20, 1845. The char- 
ter members were: William Newell, T. Lemk, A. C. 
Liston, Isaac N. Coleman, Jacob Dunkle and John H. Mas- 


sey. The first officers were: Theopliilus Lemk, P. G. ; 
Isaac N. Coleman, N. G. ; John H. Massey, Y. G. ; Will- 
iam ISTewell, Secretary; Jacob Dunkle, Treasurer; Aaron 
Foster, Warden. The first initiations were S. W. Draper 
and John W. Cannon. In 1866 the Order erected their 
present fine hall, a rather stately building, three stories 
high, the third floor being used for lodge room, the neces- 
sary ante-rooms, etc. Mt. Olive Encampment, No. 18, was 
established September 13, 1849, by Special Grand Deputy 
Patriarch Jared C. Jocelyn, but the charter was not issued 
until January 9, 1850. The charter members were: J. 
W. Cannon, Jchn Caldwell, J. P. Crickmeur, Jedediah 
Heberd, George B. Jocelyn, M. P. Ghee and J. B. 
La Plante. 

Old Post Lodge, :N'o. 332, was instituted July 30, 1869, 
by W. H. DeWolf, Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of 
the State of Indiana. The charter members were : Lazarus 
I^oble, Bernhard Kuhn, Jr., George Parrott, Alfred Pat- 
ton, William Davidson, H. J. Watgen, John Loten, Jolm 
II. Massey, Winfield M. Stoddard, B. F. Johnson and 
J. 11. E. Sprinkle. The first ofiicers were: Lazarus 
I^Toble, ]S[. G.; J. H. E. Sprinkle, V. G. ; H. J. Wat- 
gen, S. 

Liebig Lodge, IsTo. 441, was instituted March 4, 1874, 
by Charles Schaum, D. D. G. M. The following were 
charter members : H. J. Watgen, B. Baswitz, C. F. 
Pecker, Emil Grill, P. Schumacher, Fred Hellert, J. A. 
Rische, Chris. Huffman, H. Myers, W. Hassinger, John 
H. Piel, G. Weinstein, Moses Wile and John Osweiler. 
Officers were: M. Baswitz, IsT. G. ; C. F. Pecker, V. G. ; 
Emil Grill, P. S. ; H. J. Watgen, Secretary, and Phil 
Schumacher, Treasurer. These latter lodges were subse- 


quently cons(»li(late(l Avitli the parent lodge, Wabash ; Old 
Post Lodge being absorbed by the Wabash in 1878, and 
the Liebig in 1880. 

The present officers of Wabash Lodge are: E. A. 
Burnet, ^. G. ; William Humphrey, V. G. ; A. H. Rose- 
man, R. S. ; W. A. Hartwell, F. S. ; and H. A. Foulks, 


Among the more recently formed societies or lodges is 
Dioscouri Lodge, No. 47, of the Knights of Pj^thias, a fra- 
ternal, l)enevolent organization which was organized June 
4, 1874. The charter members were: A. J. Thomas, D. 
T. Patton, Isaac Lyons, O. II. Cobb, R. J. Greenliow, 
C. M. Allen, Jr., 11. Q. Ashley, D. B. Hamaker, II. H. 
Hackman, E. M. KeUum, H. J. Watgen, M. Baswitz, J. C. 
Beeler, E. L. Ryder, F. B. Posey, F. W. Beard, Simon 
Payne, King H. Malone, Peter McCarthy, C W. Jones, 
H. A. Foulks, ]\Iorris Fields, Thomas Dayson, J. E. Blair 
and John Dofar. The first officers were: D. T. Patton, 
C. C. ; O. II. ( \.b]), V. C. ; H. A. Foulks, M. of E. ; 11. Q. 
Ashley, K. of R. and S. ; James C. Beeler, P. ; Thomas 
Dayson, O. G. ; E. L. Ryder, I. G. ; C. M. Allen, Jr., M. 
of A. The present officers of the lodge are : Fred Miller, 
M. of W. ; Sam W. Emison, C. C. ; Frank E. Henry, V. 
C. ; William Brown, P. ; George Borrowman, K. of R. and 
S. ; James F. Lewis, M. of E. ; H. S. Latshaw, M. of F. ; 
W. R. Thurgood, O. G. ; A. Grant McKr.y, I. G. ; Jas. S. 
Pritchett, W. R. Thurgood and C. C. Winkler, Trustees. 
The present membership of the lodge is eighty-four. 



This organizatiuii is composed only of the iiiiicii veterans 
of tlie Civil War and was instituted to perpetuate the 
scenes and exploits of army life and bring closer together 
tliose who had gallantly fought to prevent the dismember- 
ment of the Union formed by our fathers of the United 
States. The name of the institution is Jeff C. Davis Post, 
1^0. 16, Department of Indiana, and was organized March 
26, 1880, with the following members: James Ostrander, 
C. ; John Hack, S. V. C. ; J. C. Beeler, J. V. C. ; Joseph 
Roseman, Q. M. ; John i^elson, O. D. ; David Agnew, A. ; 
J. J. Cunningham, O. G. ; T. D. Mitchell, C. The present 
officers of the Post are : Abe S. Keel, C. ; Grover Ayres, 
A. ; Joseph liosemau, S. V. C. ; Jerre Hersliy, J. V. C. ; 
John ^^Telson, O. D. ; S. F. Johnson, C. ; George Penning- 
ton, Q. M. ; Louis Mallet, O. G. 


The Malluch Court, J^o. 45, T. B. H., was organized 
December 4, 1895, by R. E. Hayes, of Crawford sville, 
Ind., with a charter membership of eighty -one. The fol- 
lowing officers were chosen and installed : Chief, H. S. 
Latshaw ; Judge, A. S. Laue ; Teacher, J. K. Jessup ; 
Scribe, Will L. Tewalt; Keeper of Tribute, John T. Boyd ; 
Captain, Samuel Thompson; Guide, E. S. Sparrow; 
Keeper of Outer Gate, John Hurst ; Keeper of Inner Gate. 
C. B. Calloway. 

This institution is benevolent, fraternal and beneficiary 
in its character, exceedingly popular with many, and has a 
goodly membership. The origin of its name was suggested 


l)y the noted and world-wide read book "Ben-Hnr," written 
by General Lew Wallace, an Indiana man, and had its con- 
ception at Crawfordsville, Ind., the home of General 
Wallace, the distinguished author. Its present member- 
ship is 388, and is officered by the following: Chief, A. T. 
Cobb; Assistant Chief, J. C. Wise; Judge, Mrs. Shugert; 
Teacher, Mrs. Evans ; Scribe, Will L. Tewalt ; Keeper of 
Tribute, Mrs. Latshaw ; Guide, Gertrude Scott ; Captain, 
Winfield Robinson; Keeper of Inner Gate, James Hens- 
ley ; Keeper of Outer Gate, T. J. Burrell. 


The character of the Elks is benevolent, protective and 
social. The Order is comparatively of recent origin, it 
having been instituted in 1868, by a few gentlemen of the 
theatrical profession, but it has long since outgrown its 
original environments and embraces in its membership now 
gentlemen of all professions and industrial callings ; the 
only standards for membership being that of age and wor- 
thiness. The Order has grown rapidly and promises much 
good to the brotherhood of mankind in building up a gTeat 
fraternity, irrespective of "country, creed, doctrine or 
belief." ^ 

The local lodge was instituted ISTovember 1, 1894, as 
ISTo. 291, by District Deputy James M. Healy, assisted by 
Indianapolis Lodge, No. 13, in I. O. O. F. hall, with 
thirty-five initial members, and the following gentlemen 
were elected to fill the offices, to wit : W. A. Reiman, E. 
R. ; C. B. O'Donnell, E. L. K. ; Geo. E. Greene, E. L. K. ; 
E. J. Julian, E. L. K. ; S. Liebshultz, Secretary ; I. Lyons, 
Treasurer; Geo. Schwenk, Tiler; E. E. Shores, Esquire; 


Charles Langel, I. G. ; Trustees, M. Reindskopli, P. R. 
i\rcCarty, F. W. Bloom. 

The present officers, 1902, are: P. R. McCarty, E. R. ; 
H. J. Foulks, E. L. K. ; C. C. Gosnell, E. L. K. ; Jos. V. 
Hershj, E. L. K. ; E. J. Julian, Secretary ; Geo. Frendrick, 
Treasurer ; Jas. Sowden, Tiler ; W. JST. Robeson, Es- 
quire; J. C. Wagiior, I. G. ; C. A. Weisert, Chaplain ; E. A. 
Beacher, Organist; Trustees: R. B. Jessup, H. Eberwine, 
Jas. Gatton. Past Exalted Rulers: W. A. Reiman, 1894; 
C. B. O'Donnell, 1895; Geo. E. Greene, 1896; E. J. 
Julian, 1897; F. W. Bloom, 1898; E. L. Ryder, 1899; 
S. E. Beard, 1900 ; I. Lyons, 1901. 

If charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity are its 
watchwords, humanity must be the recipient of many of 
i.s courtesies calculated to lift up and make glad the hearts 
of many in times of need and comforting sympathy. 


The Piankeshaw Tribe, Imperial Order of Red Men, 
ISTo. 108, was instituted July 1, 1890. The first ofiicers of 
the order were : C. H. DeBolt, Prophet ; S. W. Williams, 
Sachem ; E. Bierhaus, Senior Sagamore ; PL S. Latshaw, 
Junior Sagamore; George H. Turner, Chief of Records; 
Isaac Lyons, Keeper of Wampum. The order is fraternal 
and co-operative in character, and takes its name from a 
tribe of Indians who founded the village Che-pe-ko-ke 
(Brushwood), where the city of Vincennes is now located. 
It is said that these Indians were always friendly with the 
white people, and allotted the southern part of their village 
for the habitation of the early traders and missionaries. 
The fraternal, unselfish and noble qualities of this tribe 


of Indians, no doiilit, sng'gested the name for tlie local 
lodge, Piankesliaw. The Order is also benevolent in its 
character, caring for its sick members and attending to 
the disposition of those who depart "to their happy hunt- 
ing ground." 

The Order is unicpie in dress, imitating their illustrious 
namesakes, are veritable "^rough riders," and well drilled 
in the warwhoop of the lied Men of "ye olden tyme," and, 
while on parade, rival Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. 

The present officers are : John L. Interreiden, Prophet ; 
Oliver P. Glass, Sachem ; William II. Long, Senior Saga- 
more; George E. Oshea, Junior Sagamore; Frank A. 
Thuis, Chief of Records ; David H. Byers, Collector of 
Wampum ; H. S. Latshaw, Keeper of Wampum ; P. R. 
McCarthy, Great District Deputy Grand Sachem. 


This is a uniformed rank of a benevolent, social, secta- 
rian institution of the St. John's German Church, and was 
organized June 17, 1888. The older is fraternal and pro- 
tective in its character, is composed of some of the leading 
men of the church, and, wlien on parade on special occa- 
sions, make a creditable appearance in military drill and 
display. The following were the charter members : The 
Reverend Agedius J. Merz, Spiritual Director ; Henry 
Sclieff ers, President ; Wilhelm Hehmann, Vice-President ; 
Frank Reiter, Recording Secretary ; Peter Kiefer, Finan- 
cial Secretary; Gerard Reiter, Treasurer; Bernhardt 
Scheifers, Sergeant ; Henry Keller, Sentinel ; John Hoff- 
man, Henry Hoffman and John Heller, Trustees. Addi- 


tional charter members were Anton Krack and Bernard 

This Order now has a membership of sixty-live, and their 
insurance fnnd amounts to $82,000. Two of the mem- 
bers of this society have held high and lionorable positions 
in the national organization. Our worthv fellow-citizen, 
the Honorable Gerard Reiter, enjoyed the high distinction 
of being Grand Treasurer of the national organization for 
several years, and, but for the edict promulgated that all 
grand officers should make their residence in the city of St. 
Louis, Avhere the Grand Lodge is located, he probably 
w^ould now be the Grand Treasurer. Another member of 
this local organization, John W. IvTordons, was chosen 
Grand Connnander for several successive years. The pres- 
ent officers of this branch are : The Reverend M. Fleisch- 
nian. Spiritual Director; Gerard Inciter, President; 
Joseph Clausmann, Vice-President ; Frank Reiter, Record- 
ing Secretary ; Joseph Hans, Financial Secretary ; Joseph 
Sclieffers, Treasurer ; Bernard Anton, Sergeant ; Joseph 
Sumniick, Sentinel; Henry Schetfers, Llenry Heusterberg 
and Jose]>h Ohnemns, Trustees. 


There is little to be said of the earliest physicians lo- 
cated here, since no record exists giving their names or 
labors. It is said a Doctor Tisdale was here as early as 
1792, and that Samuel jMcKee, Surgeon United States 
Army, was here as early as 1800, and Doctor Scull, a 
little later, who was with General JIarrison at the l)attle of 
Ti])pecanoe. Knox ('oniity liistory says a medical society 


was organized in 1817, and met again in 1819 for the last 
time, bnt no names are given of the members. 

The first medical society of Vincennes, of which any an- 
thentic record exists, was organized June 5, 1827, with the 
following named members and officers : President, Doctor 
E. McISTamee ; Secretary, Hiram Decker ; Treasurer, J. 
Kuykendall ; members, Philip Barton, J. D. Wolverton 
and Doctor O'Haver. Doctor James Porter was elected 
a member at the same meeting, paying a fee of $5 for a di- 

It is presumed that the society was organized under the 
provisions of the charter of the Vincennes University, 
which permitted the conferring of the degree of doctor of 
medicine. The society was called "Tlio First District 
Medical Society of Indiana." As the years went by 
Doctors A. Elliot and J. W. Davis became members ; the 
latter subsequently went into politics and became a United 
States Minister abroad. In May, 1830, Doctors W. Din- 
widdle, Joseph W. Posey, Hezekiah Holland, Dr. Pen- 
nington and Joseph Somes were admitted to membership. 
In ISTovend^er following Doctor IST. Mears joined. In ]\Iay, 
1831, Doctors W. W. Hitt, H. Davidson and O. G. Stewart 
were admitted. 

In years following, up to 1853, there appear on the roll 
Doctors G. G. Barton, Thomas ISTesbit, Joseph Brown, 
Joseph Maddox, Daniel Staid, F. IL McJenkin, F. F. 
Offatt, William Warner, J. S. Sawyer, John Barry, in 
June, 1839; B. J. Baty, March, 1840; Alexander Leslie, 
ISTovember, 1843; William Fairhurst, N'ovember, 1842; 
John E. Mantle, ^NTovember, 1844; James P. DeBrulcr, 
November, 1842; Thomas B. Thompson, 1841; Hubbard 


M. Smith, May, 1849; George B. Shumard, June, 1849; 
R. B. Jessiip, February, 1854. 

The first session of the General Assembly of the Terri- 
tory of Indiana passed a law regulating the practice of 
medicine, and each judicial district had a medical board 
whose duty it was to regulate the practice of medicine and 
surgery. In 1828 this society met again, and among other 
business passed a resolution recomn)ending tlie formation 
of a State society, and also forwarded a petition memo- 
rializing CongTess to pass an act for the formation of a 
medical pharmacopea. This society's meetings are recorded 
up to March 23, 1835. The officers were then changed, 
and the secretary's books, giving further data, seem to 
have been lost. But the treasurer's books contain records 
lip to February, 1854, the last three members admitted 
being Hubbard M. Smith, G. G. Shumard and R. B. 
Jessup, Sr. 

In tlie charter of the Vincennes University a medical 
department was provided for by the General Assembly of 
Indiana Territory, and, in 1839, the physicians of Vin- 
cennes organized a school of medicine, and petitioned the 
University board of trustees to grant them a room in their 
building in which to teach medicine. At that time the 
property of the University was in litigation, the State hav- 
ing seized it and diverted it to the Bloomington College, 
and the doctors must have given up their project, as no 
further records exist of the proposed school of medicine. 
The charter provision still authorizes the establishment of 
such a school, and some day in the distant future, when tlie 
University is recouped by the State of Indiana ftu- the un- 
just seizure of its onditwment by some of the State's earliest 


Legislators, and our city's population, wealth, intelligence 
and needs justify, another school of medicine may be or- 
ganized under it, which may he more successful. 

The writer has in his possession the seal of the society, 
the inscription hearing the words, "Vincennes Medical 
Society of Indiana, 1832," around the margin, the center 
being occupied by a beautiful fountain throwing up spray 
from its uppermost basin, while two dolphins are spouting 
spray from the sides. This society continued in existence, 
with occasional meetings, until 1875, when an organization 
was effected called the "Knox County Medical Society," 
which became subordinate to the Indiana State Medical 
Society, upon its organization. On October 26, 1875, the 
Tri-State INIedical Society was organized in this city, com- 
posed of representatives from the States of Kentucky, Illi- 
nois and Indiana, as follows : President, Joseph Thomp- 
son, of Paducah, Ky. ; Vice-Presidents, W. A. Smith, of 
Illinois, J. K. Letcher, of Kentucky, and J. B. Armstrong, 
of Indiana ; Recording Secretary, George W. Burton, 
Mitchell, Ind. ; Corresponding Secretary, F. W. Beard, 
Vincennes, Ind. ; Assistant Secretaries, E. 11. Luckett, 
Kentucky, and F. 'N. Rafferty, Illinois ; Treasurer, Alfred 
Patton, Vincennes, Ind. Other attending members w^ere: 
John R. Mantle, Hubbard M. Smith, W. W. Hitt, J. C. 
Beever, W. H. Beeson, R. B. Jessup, Vincennes; J. S. 
Dukate, Wheatland ; J. T. Freeland, Freelandsville. and 
W. Withersj^oon, Bruceville, Ind. 

The society was organized for helpfulness to each other 
and to bring the physicians of these States in closer touch 
Avith each other ; but, in a few years, it expanded so as to 
embrace the Middle Western States, when its name was 


changed to that of ''The Mississippi Valley Medical So- 
ciety;" and, finally, its membership embraced doctors 
from all parts of the United States, and rivaled in mend3ers 
and talents the American Medical Association. 

The present Knox County Medical Society Avas organ- 
ized April 25, 1875, by electing for President J. W. Pugh; 
Secretary, F. W. Beard ; Treasurer, Alfred Patton ; Cen- 
sors, O. C. Fairhurst, IIul)l)ard M. Smith and A. J. 
Haughton. The society now has thirty-five members, and 
meets bi-monthly at Yincennes. The present officers are: 
President, J. P. Eamsey ; Vice-President, George Knapp ; 
Secretary, J. W. Smadel; Treasurer, C. E. Stewart; Ju- 
dicial Council, ISTorman Beckes, J. W. Smadel, J. P. 
Caney, B. F. Chambers, C. W. Benham. 


The first legal courts of Indiana were established here 
when Knox County was organized, in 1790, and from that 
period to the present the legal fraternity have been promi- 
nent in matters pertaining to county, State and general 

Some of the brightest legal lights of the country have 
made this town the fonun of their forensic eloquence and 
astute acumen in legal lore, and some have risen to be 
judges, authors, statesmen. Congressmen, United States 
Senators and even to the highest office in the ISTation. 

Early in the nineteenth century Vincennes could boast 
of learned lawyers, such as George W. Johnson, Alexander 
Buckner, Benjamin Parke, Thomas Pandolph, John John- 
son, Isaac Blackford, John Rice Jones, Henry Vander- 
berg, John Gibson, and later Sanmel Judali, John Law, 



C. M. Allen, B. M. Thomas, W. E. Niblack, F. W. Viehe, 
Thomas R Cobb, N'athaniel Usher, :N'. F. Malott, Geo. G. 
Riley, and others of like repute. With this talent, so far as 
history and tradition go, up to a very recent period, no bar 
association was formed. It remained for Attorney S. W. 
Williams to take the initiative in the matter, when a meet- 
ing was called and held at the Union Depot, November, 
1900, at which time the Honorable B. M. Willoughby was 
elected President ; L. A. Meyer, Treasurer, and Robert G. 
Cauthorn, Secretary. A constitution and by-laws were 
adopted and approved by the court and spread upon its 

The objects of the organization are mutual improvement 
and benefit of its members; to encourage a fraternity of 
feeling and social intercourse ; helpfulness to each other in 
sickness or distress, and to prevent, if possible, the enact- 
ment of bad laws. 

The following are charter members: Samuel W. Wil- 
liams, H. S. Cauthorn, Sr., J. P. Haughton, Arthur T. 
Cobb, John L. Buckles, James M. House, Samuel M. 
Emison, John T. Goodman, Duncan Beckes, William S. 
Hoover, Oscar B. Williamson, Robert L. Buckles, Jona- 
than Keith, W. C. Johnson, H. W. Alexander, A. Camp- 
bell, James S. Pritchett, James W. Emison, George W. 
Shaw, O. C. Philips, W. A. Cullop, Orlando H. Cobb, W. 
H. DeWolf, C. E. Dailey, W. F. Calverly, Louis A. Meyer, 
Thomas B. Coulter, Henry S. Cauthorn, Jr., Joseph T. 
Randolph, Alvin McClure, Charles G. McCord, Richard 
F. Davis, John Wilhelm, Elmer E. Smith, Clarence B. 
Kessinger, E. H. DeWolf, C. B. Judah, B. M. Willoughby, 
James A. McClure, Joseph Ross, George B. Hazelton and 
Robert G. Cauthorn. 



The meetings of the association will be held annually, 
on the day following Thanksgiving Day, and, after looking 
after the ethics and good of the association in general, the 
members will look after the condition of the inner man 
in a sumptuous banquet, worthy of their illustrious and 
distinguished predecessor, Blackstone, of "ye olden tynie." 

The present officers are : President, James W. Emison ; 
Secretary, Robert Erank Weems; Treasurer, Louis A. 


This society was reorganized in 1899. Present officers: 
Judge George Shaw, Presidei t ; Hubbard M. Smith, 
Vice-President; Louis A. Meyer, Secretary; W. H. Pen- 
nir.2i:on. Treasurer. 

Chapter X. 


THE newspaper men of this town have had their ups 
and downs, as is the case in many other places, es- 
pecially those who commenced publishing papers 
early in the nineteenth century. The first newspaper pub- 
lished in Vincennes was the Indiana Gazette, July 4, 
1804, by Elihu Stout. The press and type were brought 
here on horseback from Frankfort, Ky. In about eighteen 
months the plant was consumed by fire, but, phoenixlike, it 
appeared again in 1807, but under the title of The West- 
ern Sun, Democratic in politics, and continued publication 
until 1817, when its name was changed again, under other 
influences, to that of Western 8un and General Adver- 
tiser. In the forties this paper was sold to John R. Jones, 
Avho, with his brother, W. A. Jones, continued its publica- 
tion until the former received an appointment in Wash- 
ington, whereupon its publication was suspended. When 
Jones returned to Vincennes the paper was started again 
under the name of Jones' Vincennes Sentinel. This pub- 
lication had a short life, and was followed by the Fin- 
cennes Indiana Patriot, published by J. Mayes. This same 
year (1853) J. and M. A. McClaugherty published The 
Cow-ant, and soon the two papers united, the name being 
changed to the Courant and Patriot. This paper was sus- 
pended in 1856, when George E. Green came into posses- 
sion of the plant, and at once revived the old name, West- 



ern Sun, after its effacement for about ten years. Mr. 
Green continued the publication until his death, in 1870. 
It next passed into the possession of R. C. Kise and A. J. 
Thomas. On the death of Kise, in 1873, Doctor Alfred 
Patton became part owner, and in 1876 Royal E. Purcell, 
the present o^\^ler, bought the plant, and has placed it 
upon a firm and paying- foundation. It is now issued as 
an afternoon daily, and has a weekly edition also. 

About the year 1880 W. W. Bailey published for a 
while a Single Tax paper ; and recently Mr. Harbinson 
started a paper called Tlie Era. 

Tradition has it that another paper was started in 1818, 
but there is no record of any other paper printed here until 
the establishment of the Vincennes Gazette, by R. Y. Cad- 
dington, about the year 1829, as an organ of the Whig 
party, who published the paper for about twenty-five years, 
at which period it was sold to James A. Mason, G. R. Har- 
vey and M. P. Ghee, who started the first daily paper ever 
published in the city, when its Whigism was changed to 

After a few" years the plant passed into the hands of 
Doctor Hubbard M. Smith, M. P. Ghee being retained as 
local editor. In 1861 Doctor Smith, having been appointed 
postmaster at Vincennes, gave very little attention to the 
paper, and in a few succeeding years the plant was leased 
and sold several times to adventurers, who possessed neither 
money nor braius enough to make it flourish. It reverted 
to Doctor Smith for non-i)ayment of purchase money, 
who, in 1865, disposed of it to J. M. Grifiin, who published 
the paper for a year or two, when he removed the plant 
from the city, and the Gazette ceased to exist. 


During the Civil War several papers were launched for 
public favors, such as the Neivs of the Day, by J. G. Hutch- 
inson; the Old Post Union, by the same publisher; The 
Vincennes Times, by E. Y. Caddington and General Laz. 
Noble, which latter was sold to Malachi Krebbs. When 
failure was made to pay the balance of the purchase 
money on the plant, it passed into the hands of J. J. 
Mayes, John Mallet and A. G. V. Grotts, and in a short 
time ceased publication. There have been two German pa- 
pers, of Democratic proclivities, published here, one by Mr. 
Rosenthal many years ago. The latter was called The 
Post, edited by Louis Meyer, about ten years ago, but both 
these papers were short lived. 

The Vincennes Commercial was established in March, 
1877, by S. F. Horrall & Sons, and was Republican in poli- 
tics. On February 15, 1881, it was sold to the Commer- 
cial Company, with J. C. Adams as editor and manager. 
In April, 1882, it changed its editor and proprietor, be- 
coming the property of T. A. Adams, who still continues 
its publication in daily and weekly editions. The paper has 
been placed by him upon a sound financial basis. 

The Knox County Democrat, now edited and published 
by Messrs. Garrard & Quittle, was started about the year 
1891, by Mr, Allen Campbell, who published it for a few 
years and then disposed of the plant. Like many other 
junior enterprises, it met with reverses, as it had keen com- 
petition in older established papers. The present proprie- 
tors seem to understand their business, and no doubt pluck 
and energy will finally crown their efforts with success. 

The last paper published here was established by a stock 
company, advocating RejJublican principles and seeking 


popular favor. It is the Capitol, and was edited by George 
Cook. Its first issue was on February 4, 1899. In March, 
1902, Mr. Cook withdrew from the Capitol, and the paper 
is now published and edited by F. W. Curtis, Periy C. 
Green and Ralph Dukate. 


In the year 1808 there was organized the Vincennes 
Historical and Antiquarian Society following the organi- 
zation of the Vincennes University, and it was originally 
intended to be an adjunct to this latter institution. This 
society flourished for some years, during which time many 
valuable books and paleontological specimens were accumu- 
lated. But just as the university was preparing to build 
up a flourishing institution, the newly fledged State of 
Indiana presiuned that she owned eveiything in sight, and 
proceeded to confiscate the university's property, which had 
been acquired by that institution under act of Congress, 
and to give the proceeds to Bloomington College. This un- 
just and unprecedented procedure not only paralyzed the 
school, but gave a death blow to the Historical and Anti- 
quarian Society, as it was to rise or fall with the university. 
It had accumulated many rare books and specimens of 
value, but from this time forward it eked out a sickly 
existence, and finally gave up the ghost, and much of its 
property was lost. Many years afterwards a few persons 
of a younger generation, bought up all the shares of stock 
that were in existence, and, for a small consideration, con- 
veyed the remaining assets of the society to the resuscitated 
university, which owns the library and antiquarian speci- 


mens. The latter has not received many additions, but the 
library has been increased in numbers of volumes until it 
now exceeds 5,000 ; these books are accessible to the 
public upon proper application. If the conscience of 
the State of Indiana is ever pricked to a realizing sense of 
the injustice practiced on its first educational institution 
even to pay one-fourth of its indebtedness to said institu- 
tion, this library will be increased and enlarged in the scope 
of its benisons, until the university will become what its 
founders designed it should be in fact as well as name. 
For the quickening of her conscience let us, together with 
all lovers of justice and righteousness, devoutly pray. 


The church doubtless commenced the collection of books 
at an early period of its existence, perhaps with the advent 
of its first stated supply in 1794, but no great accumulation 
of them occurred until the arrival of Bishop Brute, after 
the See of Vincennes was formed, in 1834. The Bishop's 
residence became then fixed here, and the nucleus of the 
library immediately received large accessions of rare and 
valual:)le books, printed in all the European languages, some 
dating as far back as 1476. Many large volumes, 14x18 
inches in size, some numbering ten volumes, the text of 
same being in Arabic, Syrian and Samaritan languages. 
There is a bible in the French language, printed in Ger- 
many in 1062 ; others of the date of 1476. Some of these 
books are slightly illuminated ; it is said large illuminated 
books were once in the library, but were lost. ISTothing 
positively is known on the subject, so the Rector, Father 


Guegen, informed the writer. Bishop Brute was a scholar, 
and had started well the foundation for a magnificent 
library, and, had he lived a few years longer, would no 
doubt have added to it largely. This library has grown, 
with passing years, until il. now numbers about 10,000 
volumes, many of them rare in this country. 


Alx)Ut 1850 a philanthropic gentleman by the name of 
McClure bequeathed to each county of Indiana a fund of 
$500 that should form a basis for a libraiy in each county, 
to be called the ''McClure Township Library." Under its 
provisions a tovmship library was fonned a half century 
ago. As no special provision was made to keep it up or 
care for it, the books became scattered, and Avere about to 
become worthless to the public, when, in April, 1889, the 
city took up the matter and gave it a home in the city hall, 
and has added to it annually, thus metamorphosing it into 
a city library, by which name it is now designated. Upon 
the reorganization of it, under the present title, provision 
was made for a librarian, a fund for the purchase of new 
books, regiilations regarding the circulation of them, the 
times of the day when books can be had, etc. 

This library now contains about five thousand volumes, 
and has been conducted in such a manner as to give much 
benefit and pleasure to the public. The librarians have been 
competent, faithful and accommodating. Miss Myrtle M. 
Ruddy, the present efficient librarian, having succeeded, 
two years ago, Mrs. Judge George Shaw. It is to be hoped 
that the interest in the city library will not wane, but that 
the citizens will lend it liberal aid, whether some million- 
aire comes to their aid or not. 



The first banks established in Indiana were at Vin- 
cennes, but by whom and at what time is not known, as no 
record exists here of them, or even of the banks of later 
years ; hence the task of gathering statistics relating to the 
first banking institutions has been found difficult. 

In 1816, when the State of Indiana was admitted to 
the Union, there were but two banks in the State, one at 
Madison and the other located in Vincennes, both of which 
were chartered by the Territorial Legislature. The old 
Constitution, that of 1816, prohibited the establishment 
of any bank of issue except the Legislature might charter 
a State bank and branches, "not exceeding one branch for 
any three counties. 

The first Legislature passed an act establishing a State 
bank, with branches at Corydon, Brookville and Vevay, 
and adopting the banks at Vincennes and Madison. "Ow- 
ing to bad management and speculation, all of the banks 
failed in 1821, three years after their establishment. For 
several years after that date there was not a bank of issue 
in the State." (Bankers' Magazine, 1902, p. 107.) 

It is not known to the writer who conducted the first 
bank, nor the amount of capital it was based upon. Tradi- 
tion tells of a distillery and mill that were located up the 
river, opposite the park. There is no other record of any 
legitimate bank being established until 1836, when the 
Legislature of the State chartered The State Bank of In- 
diana, with thirteen branches, one of which was located 
here, with John Ross President and George Rathborn 
Cashier, the latter being succeeded by Benjamin F. 


Wheeler, who was succeeded by John F. Bayard. This 
was the only bank here from that period of time until 
its charter expired, December 31, 1856. January 1, 
1857, the Bank of the State of Indiana came into exist- 
ence, with John Ross President and John F. Bayard 
Cashier. On the death of the latter, Joseph L. Bay- 
ard succeeded to that position in 1859. In 1863, after the 
national law became operative which taxed State and pri- 
vate banks 10 per cent., the Bank of the State closed its 
affairs, and The Vincennes National Bank was organized, 
and succeeded the old bank with the following- officers: 
John Ross, President; W. J, Williams, Cashier. Mr. Ross 
continued President of this institution until his demise in 
1873, after a brilliant and faithful service of thirty-seven 
years, no patron losing a dollar on account of his banks. 
A better eulogy than this one fact, telling of his integrity 
and sagacity, could not be passed upon his career as a 
correct business man. 

The Vincennes National Bank continued after the death 
of Mr. Ross. W. J. Williams succeeded to the presidency 
and W. M. Tyler was elected Cashier. Some years later, 
on the death of W. J. Williams, W. M. Tyler became Presi- 
dent, mth Hiram Foulks as Cashier. A few years after 
this, the bank having ceased to do business on sound bank- 
ing principles, heavy losses followed, which resulted in the 
winding up of its affairs, causing great distress to deposi- 
tors and stockholders. 

The First National Bank of Vincennes was organized 
in September, 1871, with a capital stock of $100,000; 
J. II. Rabb, President; J. L. Bayard, Cashier. This bank 
continues to do business. President Rabb continued at the 


head of the institution until his death, being considered 
the shrewdest and safest financier in the city. J. L. Bayard 
succeeded to the presidency, which position he still holds ; 
P. M. O'Donnell^ Cashier; H. V. Somes, Jr., Assistant 
Cashier; J. L. Bayard, Jr., Bookkeeper. 

The German jSTational Bank of Vincennes, with a capi- 
tal of $100,000, was organized August 5, 1888. Its officers 
were : Seleman Gimble, President ; Garret Reiter, Vice- 
President; George P. Alsop, Cashier. Upon the death of 
the President, William Baker was elected to that position. 
The officers at this time are: President, William Baker; 
Vice-President, Garret Reiter ; Cashier, G. R. Alsop ; 
Assistant Cashier, H. J. Broeckman. 

The Second ISTational Bank of Vincennes was organized 
in August, 1893, its officers being Allen Tindolph, Presi- 
dent; George W. Donaldson, Cashier; W. J. Freeman, 
Assistant Cashier. Capital, $100,000. On the death of the 
President, George W. Donaldson succeeded to that office. 
The present officers are : President, George W. Donaldson ; 
Cashier, W. J. Freeman; Assistant Cashier, J. T.Boyd; 
Bookkeeper, J. F. Hall. 

In 1859 a bank was organized under the title of The 
New York Stock Bank, wdth Samuel Bayard, President; 
J. F. Bayard, Cashier. This was about the time the free 
bank craze was beginning to affect Indiana people, soon 
after which "yellow dog banks" became as thick as black- 
berries in June; when "counterfeit detectives" were in use 
as much as a day book with a business firm, to tell them 
"where they were at," in the financial world, each day. 
The officers of this institution, reading the signs of the 
times correctly, being honorable gentlemen r.nd not willing 


to be classed with the ''wikl cat" institutions, hastened to 
wind up its affairs, having been operative less than two 

To give the present generation an idea of the character 
of these institutions, the writer will give a bit of his expe- 
rience with them. He had a nice little pony he had bought 
for his son, which became so fat, saucy and gay that, for 
fear of broken bones to set, he concluded to sell it. Farmer 
P. came along about this time. He wished to buy just such 
an animal and a bargain was struck. He took the animal, 
and the writer took currency in full for same. Not having 
to use the "shinplasters" until the next day, the writer was 
somewhat surprised to find a goodly part of them uncurrent 
with the merchants. I happened not to see Mr. P. that 
day. When I saw him afterwards, I called his attention to 
the worthless bills ; but, ''Oh !" said he, "they were good the 
day I paid you." I could not swear they were not current 
at that time, and so I had to pocket the loss. A more in- 
famous law to defraud the people was never enacted than 
the Indiana Free Banking Law. Uncle Sam stepped in 
pretty soon and saved the people from general bankruptcy 
with a national law. 

The foregoing have been all the banks of issue organized 
in this city. There were other private banks, one conducted 
by P. J. McKenney, called McKenney's Deposit Bank, 
and one other, the Vincennes German Bank, established 
by J. L. Bayard and Henry Knirhm, in 1869, and which 
was succeeded by the First National Bank in 1871, J. L. 
Bayard becoming Cashier of the latter bank. 

W. F. Pidgeon and W. H. H. Terrell opened and started 
the Bank of Vincennes about 1800, but did little if anv 


business, and soon closed it. Abont that time George R. 
Swallow and a Mr. Black opened a bank in Judah's row, 
on Second, between Main and Busseron streets. Its busi- 
ness was insignificant and soon closed. Swallow is now 
president of a bank in Denver, Col. 

And there was once a deposit bank located here, when 
and by whom no record exists to tell. The writer has a 
bill or note, of the denomination of ten dollars, bearing the 
superscription: "The Wabash Insurance Company will 
pay to bearer ten dollars, on demand, for that amount re- 
ceived on deposit. Vincennes 18.." Vignette, 

centrally ; at top of note, the three graces ; on the right 
hand end the portrait of Jefferson ; on the left end, Receipt 
■ — Deposit. No signature or date. This may have been the 
issue of the milling company. 

The three national banks of Vincennes, noted in the fore- 
going statement, are all sound, and doing a large legitimate 
banking business; and the character and standing of the 
officers give a sure guarantee of their permanency and pros- 
perity in the future. ' 


Although it has been the author's aim to deal with mat- 
ters pertaining mainly to transactions and persons of the 
early part of the nineteenth century, and those incident- 
ally connected therewith, yet so important an institution of 
modern times as the Board of Trade must not be slighted, 
since it is the bone and sinew of young Vincennes. 

The Vincennes Board of Trade was organized in 1883, 
when N. F. Dalton was elected President, Edward Watson 
Vice-President, George M. Ockford Secretary, L. A. Wiao 


Assistant Secretary and Joseph L. Bayard Treasurer. The 
Board of Directors were J. H. Rabb, G. Weinstein, P. E. 
McCarty, E. M. Thompson and E. H. Smith. A constitu- 
tion and by-laws having been adopted, the fee of admission 
was placed at $5 for certificate and monthly dues at 25 
cents, the meml)ership being unlimited. 

This institution has done, and is doing, a good work for 
the city, and has added to its population and wealth more 
than all the other influences and agencies combined, and 
its power increases as time passes by. At its foundation it 
had many difficulties to contend with, as it was something 
new and an innovation for the old mossbacks of the city. 
They could not see in advance from where the benefits were 
to be reaped for the outlay of their money and labor. They 
were not willing to ''cast bread upon the waters" of trade, 
trusting to Providence and zeal of the workers for a re- 
turn therefor. But patience, zeal and labor, with intelli- 
gent foresight and faith were theirs, and the rewards fol- 
lowed in due season. The days of their adversity has 
passed, and they have set the ball of prosperity rolling at 
greater speed than ever before, as the many late industries 
added to the general business of the city Avill attest. Where 
there was one industry twenty years ago, a dozen or more 
dot the outskirts of the city, and it is almost daily inquired 
of by corporations and capitalists who desire good locations 
for investments for their money. This organization has 
developed a boom unknown during the past of the city, and 
if all the citizens will put their shoulders to the wheel, 
while it is at high tide, it will "lead to fortune and suc- 


The present membersliip exceeds two hundred, with 
weekly accessions, under the leadership of its intelligent 
and energetic officers. 

The following are the present able and progressive offi- 
cers: President, Edward Watson; Vice-President, Anton 
Simon; Treasurer, Joseph L. Bayard; Secretary, H. T. 
Willis, and Assistant Secretary, H. J. Foulks. 


The history of Vincennes would not be complete w^ithout 
recording something of the epidemics that have visited it 
during its one hundred and seventy years of existence, 
during which time some episodes occurred that embraced 
ludicrous as well as serious phases. Some histories of Vin- 
cennes tell of a traditional epidemic occurring in the 
eighteenth century in this village, but it will be seen, in 
another part of these sketches, that that epidemic occurred 
at Juchereau's Fort, at the mouth of the Ohio river. While 
we know nothing but what tradition tells us, of a first epi- 
demic occurring here, those of subsequent years are re- 
corded in the history of the times. 

The Epidemic of 1820. 

]^ot many of the present generation of citizens, prob- 
ably, have ever heard of this terrible scourge from sickness 
during the earlier history of this to^^ai. In 1820 an epi- 
demic occurred here, as related by the old settlers, that 
almost depopulated the village. During the summer 
months a fatal disease prevailed, resembling yellow fever, 
and the strong presumption is that this disease was the 


yellow malady. This fever liad often prevailed further 
north, and its presence in the to\vn at the time was not very 
surprising. During the early times communication he- 
tween the Old Post and New Orleans was much more fre- 
quent than now, and, as yellow fever existed in the latter 
city during the summer months, it was not an uncommon 
occurrence for the germs to be introduced in the North. 
It was only necessary that favorable conditions should 
exist for its pro^Dagation in the Valley of the Wabash, and, 
at this time, such conditions existed at Vincennes. The 
season was exceedingly dry, the river low, and the waters 
about the town were stagnant, the home of the mosquito. 
Recent discoveries, especially those brought out by experi- 
ments in Cuba, where yellow fever was for many years a 
common disease, owing to the transmission of its cause 
through one species of mosquito, stegomyia fasciata, will 
explain the nature and virulence of the fever which marked 
this epidemic. If only one case had been introduced here 
from the far South, where this species of mosquito was 
propagated, in stagnant pools of water surrounding the 
town, the disease could and would be readily communi- 
cated to the inhabitants. The writer doubts not that the 
disease, so fatal here in the summer of 1820, was yellow 
fever. This mosquito is represented as darker in color 
than the less virulent ones, its notes are loAver in the scale 
of sound, and it is these fellows with the basso voice, es- 
pecially, whose serenades we should object to. The trans- 
mission of malarial disease by the mosquito was established 
many years ago by Italian physicians at Rome, where ma- 
larial diseases often exist to an alarming extent. 



The year in question the river got so low that the grass 
grew in great luxuriance far out from the shores, and the 
opinion prevailed that this was the cause of the virulent 
fever, and the city authorities had this grass mowed, ex- 
pecting it to float away with the current, but, on the con- 
trary, it remained where cut, decayed, and became the hot- 
bed of malaria and the breeder of the mosquito. It hav- 
ing been frequently demonstrated that malaria is often in- 
troduced into the human system by the bite of this insect, 
it was not to be wondered at that fevers prevailed alarm- 
ingly at Vincennes at that period. Tlie numerous fatalities 
attending this scourge gave the town a notoriously bad 
rejjutation, and emigrants from the East, seeking homes 
in the far West, "passed by on the other side," leaving the 
sick city for other good Samaritans to lend it a helping 
hand, and lift it to its feet again. That day long since went 
hj. Having learned that the best of water underlies the 
city, and that it could be easily and cheaply reached 
through driven wells, a water absolutely free from con- 
tamination of malarial and typhoid germs, at a depth of 
twenty-five feet, and having had the country adjacent thor- 
oughly drained and placed in cultivation, Vincennes now 
stands in health superior to many and inferior to no city 
of its size in the West. 

The Cholera. 

Although a model city for health, owing to aseptic soil, 
pure water, sweet air and healthy topographical condi- 
tions, yet like all other towns, it may have visitations of 
contagious diseases, as its citizens fully realized in the 
summer of 1850, when cholera invaded the borough, with 


i^TCiit. fatality. Froni the fact that this awful scoiirgc liad 
prevailed in the United States in 1832, and at the time did 
not affect this town, the people here were lulled into the 
belief that Vincennes was proof against its invasion. Peo- 
ple generally, in fact tlic medical profession, were ignorant 
of the cause of the disease, it being before bacteriolog;y had 
been perfected, so far as to enable the microscopist to iso- 
late the germ, and physicians understood the way it was 
])]'(i])agatc'(l. When tlic lirst cases occurred here, the wise 
ones of the town ridiculed the idea of cholera being the 
disease, and the public arose as one man in denying its ex- 
istence and inveighing against the physicians who had 
made what was termed ''such a foolish declaration." For- 
tunately, or unfortunately, as some may view the matter, 
tlie writer of this was the first one to diagnose the disease 
and proclaim the true nature of it, and, on account oi this 
l)oId declaration, his scalp rested uneasily on his head for 
some time. He was ostracised, and threats were freely 
made against this medical interloper, who was paralyzing 
all kinds of business by his wild assertions concerning the 
nature of the first cases. The writer regrets to state that 
but one other physician of the borough. Doctor John R. 
Mantel, coincided with him in his diagnosis, although he 
extended an urgent invitation to a number of the older 
members of his profession to visit his patients and investi- 
gate the matter for themselves. The foremost citizen of 
the borough, at that time, Avas a very intelligent, but self- 
willed gentleman, who, in addition to being President of 
the borough, was President of the then incipient Ohio & 
Mississippi Railway Company, President of the Wabash 
jSTavigation Company, and President of the Knox County 


Live Stock Insurance Company, Of course this gentleman 
was an influential man in town, and his dictum was held as 
law and gospel, from which no appeal could be taken. He 
stated that the disease, which had been pronounced Asiatic 
cholera, was nothing more than cholera morbus, such as 
he had seen in his native ]^ew England, and he forthwith 
proceeded to lecture the young disciple of Esculapius, and 
vehemently remonstrated with him for giving out false 
alarms, to the great detriment of the borough's commercial 
and general interests. The young physician was obdurate, 
and boldly stood his ground, and, after a warm discussion, 
the Judge and Chief Magistrate of the town departed, 
with a very bad opinion of, and a good slice of ill will for, 
the youthful doctor of medicine. The latter was com- 
pelled to endure the gibes and slurs of many of his fellow- 
citizens as best he could, and, as he was then comparatively 
a stranger here, he found his daily pathway not a bed of 
roses, nor were the thorns lacking. But he felt that this 
state of things could not, and it did not, endure long, as 
cholera is no respecter of persons, and the high and the low 
who came into immediate contact with the dread scourge 
had to take chances alike in attempting to cope with its ma- 
lignancy. Some days following the outbreak of the disease 
in the family of Mr. J. D. Watjen (the father. of our 
worthy fellow-townsman, H. J. Watjen, who can vouch 
for the truth of the main facts presented), by its introduc- 
tion through an emigi-ant from Germany, a young married 
man named 'Whitney, from the East, had been installed 
here as an expert in insurance matters by the President of 
the Live Stock Insurance Company. This young man, the 
protege of the chief executive of the company, sought to 


make himself particularly obnoxious to the young physi- 
cian who had been so bold as to pronounce the disease 
cholera. The offices of the latter and those of the insurance 
company were not far apart, in the old Judah Row, on 
Second street. As the clerk passed the door of the doctor 
on his way to his office, he would, occasionally, stop kt his 
own door, and, placing his hands to his mouth sidewise, 
halloo derisively, in stentorian tones, "How's the chol- 
era ?". then dart in, laugliing at what he thought was a cap- 
ital joke at the doctor's expense. Poor, misguided, unfor- 
tunate man ! He then little dreamed of what was in store 
for himself. In less than two weeks from that time he 
complained of not feeling well, and, going immediately 
home, sent for his doctor, G. G. Shumard, a very intelli- 
gent gentleman, but one who had a deadly horror of chol- 
era. He at once diagnosed the case as one of cholera, went 
to his office for some medicine, and, upon his return to 
the home of the young clerk, calling his wife to the 
door (fearing to go in), gave her the medicine and 
then, after a few directions, given hurriedly, left the 
young man to his fate. Ere the shades of night had 
enfolded mother earth in her mantle of darkness, he, 
too, was numbered among the victims of the terri- 
ble scourge. A little time after this Doctor Shumard called 
at the writer's office and asked to be permitted to lie in the 
student's bed, for that day, as he did not wish any one to 
know his whereal>outs, "For," he remarked, "every case 
of cholera I hear of brings on me symptoms of the disease. 
What shall I do?" The writer answered that there were 
but two things to do, in his estimation, to wit: either leave 
for a healthier region, which, if he did, would ruin his 


medical reputation, or stay and take his chances with the 
balance of his profession, which, if he did, would cause his 
death, so great ^vas his fear. He chose the former horn of 
the dilemma, and immediately departed, and remained 
away until cold weather had set in, when he returned, set- 
tled up his affairs and went back to his former home in 
the State of Ohio. As before stated, this gentleman, not- 
withstanding his fear of cholera, was a good physician and 
surgeon, and subsequently became Captain Marcy's sur- 
geon and geologist in his Western exploring expedition in 
the United States sendee in the early fifties. He after- 
ward became the Surgeon-General of the Ohio Volunteer 
Militia, and lost his life during the Civil War. 

About this time, that is, during the earlier stages of 
this epidemic, when doubting Thomases ornamented every 
block corner, a man by the name of Lempk, who lived 
on Hart street, and who had nursed the old German emi- 
grant who died with the disease at the Watjen resi- 
dence, on Water street, in a brick house opposite the Ameri- 
can hotel (now La Plante House), was taken ill. He was 
an Odd Fellow, and ^oble Grand John Caldwell called to 
his aid an eminent French physician. Doctor John Batt}^, 
then residing at Vincennes, who at once pronounced the 
disease to be cholera. And then wdiat did that cholera mor- 
bus president and some of the malig-ners of the young doc- 
tor do ? They incontinently fied east to the springs and 
elsewhere, and remained away until "the frost was on the 
pumpkin, and the fodder was in the shock," fearing to face 
the music of Old Vincennes sooner. This is but a brief and 
softened sketch of a phase or two of the cholera epidemic, 
as many laughable and tragic scenes enacted during 


that period are worthy of record. Of all the men who 
abused the young physician who had boldly stood his 
ground and pronounced the disease to be cholera, and who 
had tried to make life unpleasant for him in the borough, 
but one had the manliness and courage to make amends to 
him for the wrong inflicted ; that was none other than the 
noble gentleman, William J. Heberd, Sr., who came to him 
and said in a frank, honorable manner : "Doctor, I had 
said I would never employ you for injuring, as I conceived 
you were doing, the business of our town. I find that I 
was wrong, and, as a slight way of repairing the wrong in- 
flicted, I now ask you to become hereafter my family physi- 
cian." He kept his word, and the writer was his family 
physician up to the day when he fell a corpse in Peck's 
drug store, years afterward. 

In conclusion of the subject of epidemics, the writer will 
say that it is best for doctors to meet them squarely and 
fearlessly and do their full duty, and they will l)e the bet- 
ter prepared to combat them, trusting in an allwise Provi- 
dence to reenforce their skill and energy. In thus meet- 
ing them they will be better equipped to achieve a victory 
over them. With the advanced knowledge of bacteriology 
and its application in the cure of diseases, the physician of 
today is more competent to stay the ravages of disease 
than ever before. 

Chapter XI. 


AMOI^G the old buildings of pretentions character, 
erected nearly three-quarters of a century ago, situ- 
ated on Second street, between Busseron and Broad- 
way, is the old Ellis mansion, constructed of sandstone 
and brick, with massive stone columns supporting the roof 
of the vestibule, the floor and steps of which are of like 
material, the product of a quarry situated some distance 
above the city on the banks of the Wabash river. Another 
old building, of like character, now nearly, if not wholly, 
hidden from view by the buildings erected in front of it, 
is the building of the Vincennes branch of the old State 
Bank of Indiana, whose pillars were razed, following the 
sale of the property, and worked into stepping stones, which 
may yet be seen in many parts of the city. The old Ellis 
mansion is fittingly occupied by the Pastime Club, a social 
society organized December 4, 1885, and incorporated De- 
cember 23, 1889. The charter members numbered fifty, 
who were among the leading citizens. The first officers 
were: Robert B. Jessup, President; Mason J. Niblack, 
Vice-President; H. J. Foulks, Secretary; E. J. Julian, 
Treasurer ; Board of Directors : C. B. Kessinger, P. M. 
O'Donnell, E. P. Busse, B. B. Jessup, Jr., and H. J. 
Foulks. The club has prospered and enjoys an enviable 
reputation. The society offers pleasant social opportuni- 



ties through the latest papers and magazines, innocent 
games at cards, billiards and music, to its members; and 
invited guests, both at home and from abroad, have spent 
most delightful "past times" there. 

The present officers are: E. J. Julian, President; Ger- 
ard Reiter, Vice-President; W. J. Freeman, Secretary; 
H. V. Somes, Treasurer, and Guy McJimsey, Sergeant- 
at-Arms. The membership of the club is limited to 150. 


This is strictly a ladies' literary association, and was 
organized at the residence of Mrs. Helen B. Bayard, No- 
vember 11, 1881. The membership was limited to fifty 
originally, but subsequently was increased to sixty. Tag 
first officers were: President, Mrs. Helen B. Bayard; 
Secretary, Mrs. Alice J. Clark. Other members present at 
the organization were: Mrs. Ellen Gould, Miss Lloyd 
Allen, Mrs. E. A. Bryan, Miss Ray Berry, Miss Sabra 
Gather, Mrs. Ruth Davenport, Miss Katharine McElvaine, 
Miss Clara DeWolf, Miss Anna DeWolf, Miss Ida Lusk, 
Mrs. John Steven Horton, Mrs. Reuben G. Moore, Miss 
Albertine Moore and Mrs. William Glover. The society 
was incorporated by the following members, June 23, 
1901 : Mrs. Helen B. Bayard, Miss Katharine McElvaine, 
Miss Clara DeWolf, Miss Alics J. Clark, Miss Ida Lusk, 
Mrs. J. S. Horton, Mrs. R. G. Moore and Miss Albertine 
Moore. The present officers are : President, Mrs. M. A. 
Bosworth ; Vice-President, Mrs. Alexander ; Secretary, 
Mrs. Albert Shepard ; Treasurer, Mrs. Charles Bierliaus ; 
Executive Committee: Miss Lusk, Mrs. Doctor Man- 
chester, Mrs. H. B. Bayard, Miss McElvaine and Mrs. M. 
A. Bosworth. 



The St. Francis Xavier Reading Clnb, a branch of the 
National Columbia Reading Club, whose headquarters 
are in New York City, is a literary society, and was organ- 
ized in January, 1890, at the residence of Mrs. Helen 
Burk Bayard, with the following officers : President, Mrs. 
William Berry ; Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. Helen B. 
Bayard ; Directors, Mrs. J. B. La Plante, Miss Katharine 
Green and Miss Anna Flynn. This society contained orig- 
inally eighteen active members. Subsequent to its organ- 
ization it combined with its labors benevolent work and 
has recently undertaken the noble labor of building a hos- 
pital for general use in this city. Through the indefatigable 
efforts of its members and the aid of the public their funds 
for the hospital have gone beyond the thousand dollar mark. 
Their idea in assuming this herculean task of love and 
mercy was to honor and perpetuate the memories of Gen- 
eral G«orge Rogers Clark, who, through his strategy, skill 
and indomitable will secured the great jSTorthwest to- the 
Union from the British Government, and Father Pierre 
Gibault, who rendered General Clark invaluable services 
in giving him information and winning over the French 
inhabitants to the American cause. Each one of these dis- 
tinguished and noble patriots deserve imperishable monu- 
ments erected to their memory in this city. 

Through the vicissitudes of time this society's numbers 
have fallen to fourteen. The present officers are: Presi- 
dent, Mrs. J. B. La Plante ; Secretary and Treasurer, Miss 
Clementine Weisert ; Directors, Mrs. Schuyler Beard, Mrs. 
John D. LaCroix and Mrs. Helen B. Bayard. 



The Palace Club was organized March 1, 1897, with a 
list of sixtj^-one subscribers, when the following officers 
were chosen : President, A. G. Meisa ; Vice-President, 
H. G. C. Pornil ; Secretary, F. W. Tweitmeyer ; Treasurer, 
E. H. Frigge; Sergeant-at-Arnis, TI. J. Piel. The char- 
acter of this institution is social and literary, and offers 
a pleasant retreat for young gentlemen when not engaged 
in business. Its reading room is supplied with journals 
and magazines, current literature, and a piano for exer- 
cise in miisical compositions. Other rooms are fitted up 
for liilliards and lighter games, for amusement to while 
away idle hours, and for rest to the mind after weary hours 
of absorbing, wearing toil, battling with the problems of 
life. This association has proven a success, as its influence 
has been elevating in its tendency and character, and leads 
to the higher walks of life. 

The club is domiciled in a pleasant, commodious luiild- 
ing, on the corner of Hart and Second streets, and ac- 
cessible to all parts of the city by the street railway. The 
present officers are as follows: President, C. F. Scheid ; 
Vice-President, TI. G. Aliller; Secretary, H. F. IToifmau ; 
Treasurer, J. L. Baker ; Sergeant-at-iVrms, W. C. Techner ; 
Directors, Ed. H. Frigge, L. E. Thuis, H. 'N. Rellcr. 
Present membership, forty-four. 



The site of the present La Plante Hotel, on the corner of 
Main and Water streets, was formerly oecupied by the 
American Hotel, which hostelry was conducted by Mr. 
John C. Clark, from about 1825 to 1852. One of his 
daughters, Mrs. Sheridan Isaacs, is living in Edmund, 
Oklahoma, and many of his grandchildren, prominent in 
society, are residing here. It was the leading hotel in the 
town for many years. Shortly after the writer came to this 
city, in 1849, the wife of the landlord was thrown from her 
buggy, on the country road between this town and Law- 
renceville. 111., and fatally hurt. She was as genial and 
pleasant a lady as the writer ever met. While the writer 
was eating supper at the hotel, one evening during the sum- 
mer of 1849, a full grown deer, supposedly being chased by 
hounds, jumped over the yard fence, facing Main street, 
ran back through the premises, leaped the back fence and 
fled beyond the city limits. This episode served to demon- 
strate the fact tliat^ game was plentiful about the town in 
those days. This old hotel corner was a memorable spot 
to old inhabitants who resided here fifty years ago, by rea- 
son of its having been the scene of a conflagration. It was 
the site of a store, occupied by John D. Hay, a merchant 
who emigrated hither in the year 1803, who was one of 
Governor Harrison's troops at the battle of Tippecanoe. 
This corner was the principal public place in the city, and 
whenever the militia mustered, which they frequently did 
in early years, they made their best maneuvers in front of 
the old American Hotel, as is shown in the illustration. On 
an elevated porch, at the side of the building on Water 


street, can be seen an elderly gentleman, "Deacon" Taylor, 
with little Lanra, a child of the landlord, in his arms. This 
occnrrence took place more than sixty years ago. Waller 
Taylor was a Major in Harrison's army at the battle of 
Tippecanoe, and w^as at the side of Colonel Joe Daviess 
and Thomas Randolph Avhcn they fell mortally wonnded ; 
he was the one who had these two gallant patriots bnried 
side by side ; and he it was who cnt their initials on the side 
of the tree nnder which they found their last resting place, 
in order that the spot might be known if fntnre occasion 
required. Randolph was a cousin of the celebrated John 
Randolph, of Roanoke, Va. Major Taylor was chosen one 
of the first United States Senators who went from Indi- 
ana, upon its admission to the Union in 1816. 

The old hotel was located within a block, and on the 
north of where the old fort stood, and commanded the 
Main street ferry landing on the Wabash river, and was 
at one time headquarters for merchants and traders from 
all parts of the country. 


During the first period of our (Jivil Government, prisons 
and jails were used not only to incarcerate criminals, but 
for the imprisonment of debtors ; however, the latter class 
were not exactly incarcerated in the jails, but were con- 
fined to certain boundaries, beyond which they were not 
permitted to go. In 1808 an order was passed that,' "no 
objection being made by the creditors, and the debtor mak- 
ing oath that he possessed neither personal or real property, 
he should be released," and then and there imprisonment 
for debt was accordingly abolished in the Territory. The 


records disclose a description of one of these "debtm-'s lim- 
its," as it were, and it is a curiosity and nniqne, to say the 
least, and is worthy of mention here. It reads as follows: 
"Befiinning" at low water mark on the Wabash, on the 
street between Antoine Maricliall and Margaret Game- 
lin's ; thence down said street to the lower corner of James 
Purcell's; thence up to St. Louis street; thence up said 
street, including the same, to the corner of John Ochil- 
tree's house, next tO' Thomas ('oulter's; thence up the 
street, between Coulter's and Ochiltree's to James Krelly's 
lot ; from thence to the corner of the lot opposite the widow 
Brouillette's ; thence down that street leading to 11. Van- 
derburg's, to the place of beginning, including the 
streets." It is supposed the delinquent debtors knew the 
deviations of the boundaries outlined and governed them- 
selves accordingly. 

Criminal prisoners were first incarcerated in the case- 
mate at Fort Knox, and later on in a temporary jail until 
a permanent structure was erected in 1803, on the corner 
of Third and Buntin streets, wliere the residence of B. 
Kuliu now stands. Robert Slaughter was placed in this jail 
for the murder of Joseph Harbin, and was executed in 
1805, it being the first execution under the civil rule. 

LTpon the removal of the court house to its present loca- 
tion, a new jail and residence for the sheriff was built on 
the northwest corner of the court square, on Seventh 



One of the notable buildings still standing is the Old 
Cotton Factory, erected by David S. Bonner about the year 
1825. The building has withstood the storms of time and 
the vandalism of man, and after passing through many 
and varied vicissitudes, still stands a monument to the 
enterprise of its builder, after the lapse of nearly a cen- 
tury of time. It stands on the half -square facing southwest, 
on Bamett street, between Second and Third streets. 

Many of the present generation, now resident in this 
city, are unaware of the fact that not only cotton manu- 
factures, but the cultivation of the staple itself, were 
among the important industries of this place at one time. 
One of our old citizens, Mr. Elbridge Gardner, now passed 
into the eighties, informed the writer that one of the pretti- 
est cotton patches he ever saw was on the lot now occupied 
by the Vincennes University. He said that the white 
bursting from the bolls of the densely set green plants was 
a beautiful sight, and it made a lasting impression on his 
mind that can be eradicated only by death. 

Cotton raising, spinning and weaving were the order of 
the day at one time in this town, and were the chief in- 
dustries of the people. But as the Sovith became settled 
and greater yields of the fleecy staple were reported from 
that section of the country, in connection with the increased 
facilities for manufacturing in the East, the old factory's 
spindles and looms were diverted to the manufacture of 
woolen goods. In later years the building ceased alto- 
gether to be used for its original purpose, and became the 
domicile of the !N^ovelty Manufacturing Company, by 



which industry it was used until the erection of its own 
present building, on the outskirts of the city, to the west 
and near the river, and on the site where George Rogers 
Clark maneuvered when about to attack Fort Sackville 
in "ye olden tyme." The Old Cotton Factory building is 
now being utilized as a general storage room. 

Mr, Bonner, the builder of the Old Cotton Factory, 
erected a large three-story brick building on the corner of 
Second and Main streets, using the lower roi^ms for stores 
(and for which purpose they are still used), more than 
three-quarters of a century ago, and yet, today this build- 
ing is in a good state of preservation. 


What is now known as the Allen House, corner of Fifth 
and Main streets, and owned and occupied by Mrs. Sallie 
Allen, widow of the late Colonel C. M. Allen, Sr,, a distin- 
guished attorney of this city and who contributed much to 
its growth during his life, was built by David S. Bonner, 
about the year 1840, which was then considered the finest 
and costliest house in the town. The building sets back 
thirty feet from the street, the premises originally occupy- 
ing a quarter of a block and are today adorned by beautiful 
shade trees of maple and European linden of forty-five 
years' growth. This house is three stories in height, exclu- 
sive of basement, and is embellished with a large portico, 
rising above the basement, with sandstone floor and steps, 
supporting large ornamental fluted columns, which in turn 
support the roof of the portico. The building is command- 
ing in appearance, contains a large hallway with large airy 
rooms opening intO' the same, and the ceilings are unusu- 


ally high. Although three-quarters of a century old, it 
looks as if, with care, it would withstand the corroding ele- 
ments of time for another three-quarters of a century. 


It has been said when Vincennes was first settled, that on 
its site was a large mound and that it contained a vault in 
which skeletons of human beings were found closely packed 
together. As no authentic evidence can be found of this 
mound, it is presumed the report originated when the orig- 
inal burying-place of the Catholic church was changed. 
Then skeletons were found, after excavations were made, 
when they were given new sepulture. 

However this may be, there are three notable mounds 
in the vicinity of the city that are deemed worthy of record. 
They are doubtless many centuries old, as the composition 
of them would indicate from the strata, as many years 
must have elapsed while they were being built; and these 
strata may have marked eras in their formation. The 
names given to these mounds are "Pyramidal Mound," 
"Sugar Loaf Mo mid" and "Terraced Mound." The di- 
mensions of Pyramidal Mound are, from east to west three 
hundred feet and from north to south one hundred and 
fifty feet. The area of the level summit is fifteen by fifty 
feet, and it is fifty-seven feet high. Sugar Loaf Mound is 
two hundred and sixteen feet by one hundred and eighty 
feet, and has a heig-ht of forty-four feet. The Terraced 
Mound is the largest one, having a diameter at its base of 
three hundred and sixty feet, from east to west, and two 
hundred and eighty feet from north to south ; its altitude is 
sixty-seven feet. There is a winding path to the summit, 


which commands a beautiful view of the city and the 
surrounding country for many miles in Indiana and across 
the river into Illinois. The purpose for which these 
mounds w^ere made is only conjectural. They may have 
been intended for points of observation. 

The strata of these mounds are composed of alternate 
layers of sand, charcoal and bones. Or, as these mounds 
seem to be centrally located and much larger than adjacent 
ones in this county, and those in adjoining counties, they 
may have been the theater of ceremonials indulged in by 
congregated hosts of a great confederacy once existing in 
this part of the l^orthwest. The exploration of them and 
the results achieved do not warrant the conclusion that 
they were simply places of sepultvire. And yet who knows 
what their deepest depths might reveal? But for what 
purpose they were designed and made will likely be to the 
end of time an unsolved problem. The unique character 
of them, containing the elements of methodical purpose, 
conspires to invite a close and exhaustive examination by 
the antiquarian. 

Chapter XII. 




THIS old territorial house has been a prolific theme of 
romances of writers. Traveling correspondents 
have viewed it from a passing railroad train, gained 
a little misinformation, and forthwith indited lengthy arti- 
cles giving minute descriptions, often with an engraving of 
the house, as veritable historv, when in fact much of their 
lucubrations were but fictions. Some writers have told of 
a subterranean passage leading from the house to the river 
— under a "bluff;" others of a magazine in the basement 
for storing munitions of war, and a dungeon for the safe- 
keeping of criminals and prisoners of war ; and of a council 
chamber where the Territorial solons met to discuss grave 
matters of state ; and loopholes for sharpshooters to use in 
case of an attack by Indians, etc. 

It seems timely that the fictions relating to the building 
should be brushed aside and the light of truth turned on 
it. With this end in view I have availed myself of all the 
facts of current histories and from a few aged people who 
yet survive, that were born in the city in the early part of 
this century and are possessed of facts observed and tra- 
ditions handed down to them from their ancestors, to get 
all the information I could relating thereto and now submit 
the same. 

-261-'^^ - -^ ' • 



General William Henry Harrison, having been appoint- 
ed Governor of Indiana Ten-itor)^, arrived in Vincennes 
in the spring of 1801. There being no suitable building 
for himself and family to occupy, on his arrival, it is re- 
corded and generally believed, that Colonel Francis Vigo, 
a wealthy and stanch friend of the Government, who 
had just completed a fine frame house near the center of 
the block on Second street, v/here the opera building now 
stands, tendered his house to General Harrison for his 
occupancy until a suitable residence could be obtained or 
built, but the latter refused to accept any but the large 
parlor. It is not known whether he continued to remain 
in this building until his own was completed or not, the 
same being contracted for in 1805, but not completed imtil 
1806. The main building is a two-story brick, with base- 
ment, square on three sides, being oval on the west side, 
facing the Hiver Wabash and is located inland about 600 
feet ; there being a gradual descent from it to the bank. 

By one historian its cost is said to have been $20,000, 
a sum probably in keeping with the cost of skilled labor 
and material used to construct it, prevailing at that early 
day on the border of civilization. The walls of the base- 
ment are twenty-four inches thick, the upper ones eighteen 
inclies ; it has been stated that the brick of which it was 
built were imported from Pittsburgh, but it is a generally 
agi-eed fact that they were manufactured a few miles east 
of the city by the Thompson Brothers, one of the party 
being the grandfather of our fellow-citizen, Samuel Thomp- 
son, they receiving for their labor two half sections of land. 
The doors, sash, mantels and stairs were either made at 
Chillicothe, O., or Pittsburgh, Pa., it being a matter of 


dispute as to the place where they were manufactured. Be 
that as it may, the material was of walnut and its work- 
manship in the. highest style of art of that day and will 
compare favorably with that of the most costly residences 
of the present time. The timbers of the house are twice 
the dimensions of those used in modem buildings, giving 
it a most substantial character. Between the flooring and 
joists there is a three or four inch thickness of a mortar 
composed of straw and clay to deaden sounds. The base- 
ment contains a dining-room, a kitchen in which hangs 
the old fashioned crane of Colonial times ; a storeroom, one 
seemingly built for a detention cell, without a window, 
supposedly for unruly servants, and four servants' living 
rooms. There is no evidence existing to show that there 
was a subterranean passage from the basement to the river 
under the "bluff," and there is no evidence to indicate 
that a bluff ever existed at or near the house, as has been 
printed. The underground passage is therefore as myth- 
ical as the alleged "bluff." I have been somewhat familiar 
with the mansion and premises for nearly fifty years, hav- 
ing had patients in it when it was used as a boarding house 
by James Gatton and having recently talked with his sur- 
viving widow, who was at an early date familiar witli every 
nook and corner in the building for years, and I can not 
obtain any tangible evidence that a subterranean passage 
ever existed leading from the building. And as to the 
alleged portholes, in the basement, through which small 
cannons might be fired at attacking forces, no evidence 
exists, and the only opening observable are the windows 
used for light and ventilation. The storeroom is doubt- 
less the one alluded to by a recent historical contributor 


who said, ''Another room was a wine cellar. The Harri- 
sons were good livers and were surrounded hy French 
settlers who were experts in wine making." The inference 
to be drawn from this statement is that Vincennes, at an 
early date, boasted of its splendid vineyards; but if it pos- 
sessed them, neither history nor tradition leave us any au- 
thentic record of the same. Fifty years ago there were 
not more than a few hundred grapevines cultivated in the 
country, and these were of the Catawba variety and existed 
only in a few gardens, Judge John Moore and Honorable 
Cy. Poullet having the most. Besides, this grape makes 
only an indifferent sour wine and is now quite out of date. 
Frenchmen and wine-growing experts are not quite syn- 
onymous ; and if that class of people here were experts in 
wine-making, and the country once contained fine vine- 
yards, the process has Ix'come a lost art and, as Ex-Presi- 
dent CUeveland would say, it has fallen into "inocuous 
desuetude." The same authority says that "in it (the 
wine room of the mansion) was stored, for several years, 
all the Territorial powder, bullets and flint-lock and smooth 
bore rifles and other weapons of defense." The idea or 
thought of any man making his domicile over a magazine, 
where combustibles were stored, which might be exploded 
at any time, by accident or design, is too incongruous for 
belief and too horrible to contemplate. What was the fort 
for but to contain stores, munitions of war and soldiers to 
uje the same when neoded I On the first floor, above the 
basement, is a connnodious hallway communicating with 
rooms adjoining and with ones above by an easy, broad 
Stairway of the finest make and finish. On entering the 
hall, the first room to the left is tlie parlor, having been 


incorrectly, I think, called council chamber. It is spa- 
cious, its dimensions being 32|x22^ feet, with a thirteen 
foot ceiling ; the west wall being oval in form and facing 
the river. This room was doubtless the Governor's re- 
ception room, and where he often entertained many guests, 
who were then, or became distinguished and historical per- 
sonages in after times ; but it is not to be supposed, or is it 
probable, that this room was ever used for Territorial 
legislative purposes. All of the other rooms are spacious 
and finished in the same high style of art of that period. 
Inside and outside shutters or blinds were fitted to all the 
windows, of the same walnut material and finish. A slat, 
in one of the shutters in a room facing the south, about 
five feet above the floor, has a bullet hole in it, said to have 
been the result of a ball fired from a gun by an Indian one 
night, with the intent of assassinating the Governor, while 
he was walking the room with his little son in his arms. 
Its sight calls up pictures and memories of the savage past, 
and the perils that our forefathers underwent at that early 
period. The house contains a total of twenty-one rooms 
exclusive of the garret, which, although never finished, 
commands some beautiful natural pictures from its out- 
look, which those of aesthetic tastes would enjoy if viewed 
therefrom. There are two verandas, one attached to the 
side of the building facing the east, and the other to the 
front, looking southwest ; and it was in front of this portico, 
under the shade of some trees a hundred and fifty feet 
away, that Harrison and Tecumseh, the noted warrior 
chief, held their exciting and memorable pow-wow. Just at 
this point in the history of the old building it would seem 
pertinent to advert to the circumstances that led up to the 


holding of the council. Evidences had been manifested 
that the adjacent tribes of Indians were ill at ease and dis- 
posed to turbulence and attacks. The Shawnee village, lo- 
cated near where LaFayette now is, and where the battle 
of Tippecanoe was fought, was under the control of the 
Prophet, a brother of Tecumseh and the recognized spirit- 
ual leader of that and adjacent tribes; and to his machina- 
tions the disturbances were attributed. Early in the year 
of 1811 Governor Harrison, with a view to ascertaining 
the cause of the dissatisfaction of the Prophet and, if pos- 
sible, pacify him, deputed one of. his most sagacious and 
trusty advisers, with a competent interpreter, t<3 hold a 
council with him and his chiefs, embracing his brother 
warrior chief, Tecumseh. It is learned from history that 
these gentlemen arrived at the village one evening and were 
received in an apparently friendly manner by the Prophet 
and assigiied a tent for the night, with an agreed appoint- 
ment for a council the next morning. It is said the 
Prophet's wife was considered a queen among the Indian 
women, as well as by her husband. Before retiring for 
the night the interpreter observed an unusual stir among 
the squaws, and motions made toward their tent, and 
caught menacing glances and gestures toward them, and 
so told the ambassador, but he made light of the matter and 
the interpreter's suspicions that treachery Avas intended, 
and when night came he was soon asleep in peace and quiet. 
But not so with the vigilant interpreter, who kept awake, 
and had his guns near at hand. About midnight a tap was 
heard at the door and his name, in the Shawnee language, 
was called. He found Tecumseh at the door. He had 
called to warn him of impending assassination by the 


Queen and squaws, wliO' had held a council and determined 
on their death in spite of the protests of himself and 
others, who told them it would be base treachery to kill 
messengers of peace, who were their visitors. He told the 
visitors to rise and go with him. They went silently 
through the village and down into a wooded ravine near the 
river, when a noise was made, as if to call wild turkeys, 
sounds well recognized by all hunters in early days; an 
answer was returned, and soon two men appeared with 
the ambassador's horses, which they speedily mounted and 
rode swiftly away, accompanied by the two guides fur- 
nished by Tecumseh, and were soon well on their return 
trip to Vincennes. Although Tecumseh hated the whites 
and would have delighted to slay them in battle, he was 
too brave and noble in character himself to permit his fol- 
lowers to commit cold-blooded murder, and so the messen- 
gers of the Governor were saved from a cruel death by his 
foresight and magnanimity. Subsequently the Governor 
sent word to the Prophet to send Tecumseh and other chiefs 
to meet him in council with a view to establishing lasting 
friendly relations; and about the 1st of August following 
Tecumseh appeared in the vicinity of Vincennes, and sent 
word to the Governor he would meet him in council. One 
account placed his followers at three hundred ; other ac- 
counts of his arrival placed the number at less than one 
hundred. The latter doubtless approximates the correct 
number of warriors who accompanied him. The Governor 
appointed the following day for the meeting. In the 
meantime he notified his friends, and a company of sol- 
diers, to be present as a guard, and having placed another 
hundred fully equipped in his parlor, to meet contingen- 


cies, should the council prove treacherous and l)ec(inie bel- 
ligerent, he proceeded to have seats placed in a grove front- 
ing the residence, about two hundred feet away. By meas- 
urement and calculation I find the room fully large enough 
to contain the secreted company. At the appointed time 
Tecumseh arrived and found the Governor seated on one 
of the benches, prepared for the council, and some histo- 
rians say that he extend(^d to the chief a cordial greeting, 
inviting him to take a seat beside or near him, saying to 
him it was the wish of the Great Father, the President of 
the United States, that he should do so. Tecumseh, it is 
said, glancing around at the soldiers drawn up near by, 
looked furtively at Harrison and then, looking upward, 
said : ''My Father ! The Sun is my father, the Earth is 
my mother, and on her bosom I will recline;" and, so say- 
ing, cast himself on the green sward. Whether tliis grand- 
iloquent speech was actually uttered by the Indian chief, 
or was the emanation of some ardent admirer of him, will 
never be known ; however, there are reasons to doubt its 
reality. But, as the reputed episode is a pretty conceit, for 
that reason it should maintain a place in the history of 
the transaction. Yet as to the main facts about what oc- 
curred at the meeting and its locality, there can be but little 
doubt, as ample testimony exists to establish the point at 
issue to any reasonable seeker after truth. What occurred 
at this meeting was related to me nearly fifty years ago by 
Esquire Robert McClure, a native and a very intelligent 
and observing gentleman, long since dead. He said the 
council was held under the shade of some walnut trees in 
front of the Harrison mansion, two hundred feet away. 
He said he was a mere lad then, but he remembered not 


only the place of the meeting, but many things that then 
transpired. He represented the scene as dramatic from 
the beginning, when Tecumseh refused to be seated by 
the side of the Governor, preferring one on the green 
sward. After the preliminary compliments of the actors, 
Harrison told Tecumseh that he had heard that dissatis- 
faction obtained with the Indians, and for that reason he 
desired a conference with him, and had invited him and his 
chiefs to meet him in council, in order to disabuse his mind 
as to the feelings and intentions of the white settlers and 
that of the Government of the United States. He said the 
Government had ever been the friend of the Indians, and 
had always treated them kindly and justly. In reply, Te- 
cumseh, through the interpreter, Barron, told the Governor 
in an excited manner that he lied ; when as quick as a flash 
Harrison arose to his feet and drew his sword to resent the 
insult, but his friends, surrounding him, prevented the 
blow. Terrible excitement prevailed for a while, and a 
general battle seemed imminent between the Indians, sol- 
diers and citizens. Wlien the tumult had somewhat calmed, 
the Governor summarily dismissed Tecumseh, telling him 
his language was such that he would hold no further con- 
versation with him ; and the chief retired with his braves 
up the river to his camping ground. On the following day 
Tecumseh, repenting his rashness, sent a messenger to 
the Governor requesting another meeting, t^ which he ac- 
ceded provided the chief would apologize for the insulting 
language he had used, and come only with a few braves. 
The meeting was held but the principals parted without 
perfect agTeement on a peaceful basis. That the council 
was held in front of the veranda looking southwest under 


some shade trees about two hundred feet away there can 
be little doubt. The venerable A. B. McKee, a nono- 
genarian,* told the writer that his opinion, based on infor- 
mation gained from an eye witness, many years ago, is 
that the meeting of Harrison and Tecumseh occurred at 
the point named above, and in the shade of some walnut 
trees. Mr. Vital Bouchie, a native Frenchman of this 
city, now upward of ninety years old, coincides with the 
opinion of Mr. McKee. 

The testimony of Judge John Law, a distinguished law- 
yer and an ex-member of Congi'ess from this city and con- 
gressional district, who settled here in 1817, shortly after 
the famous council was held, and while yet its place 
and transactions were fresh in the memory of the citizens, 
agrees with the two former witnesses, and should be held 
as conclusive as to the locality, but he does not state the 
kind of trees under which the meeting took place. In his 
published history of Vincennes he says : "The council was 
held in an open lawn before the Governor's house, in a 
grove of trees which then surrounded it. But only two of 
these, I regret to say, are now remaining." John Law's 
residence for many years was only a few hundred feet 
southwest of the Harrison residence. 

The door in the southwest side opens into a hall which 
communicates with the lower rooms and stairway ; the door 
on the east side is less pretentious and communicates with 
a single room ; and, hence, it must be concluded that the 
front of the house faced southward, looking in the direction 
of the locality where the pow-wow^ was held, as that was 
"before the Governor's house." 

'Recently died, 


On my arrival in this city a little more than fifty years 
ago, I remember to have noticed two trees, which were al- 
luded to by Judge Law. In that year the title to the Harri- 
son premises passed to B. C. Armstrong, who, it was said, 
during his brief ownership of the property, acted the van- 
dal, in slaying the historical and other trees merely for 
firewood, when fuel could have been then purchased for 
about one dollar per cord prepared for immediate use. The 
spot having been verified where the conference took place, 
I sought to ascertain the character of the trees, and, with 
that object in view, I visited the present owner of the 
property, and asked him if he had ever seen any evidence 
of a grove of trees about where his paper mill stands. His 
reply was that, in clearing away and leveling the ground, 
preparatory to erecting the buildings, the stumps of three 
trees were noticed forming a triangle, being about forty or 
fifty feet apart. A pick was obtained and the stump of a 
tree was found just in front of his office, fifteen feet away ; 
in a moment it was laid bare, and parts of two of the roots 
were unearthed and broken off. The roots were sawed in 
twain to observe the color and character of the grain. Those 
present pronounced the roots to be walnut timber. An ex- 
pert dealer in woods, Mr. Heathcote Mcllvaine, had a like 
opinion, and, in cleaning them of clinging sand, the dark 
walnut stain, a crucial test, was in evidence so abundantly 
as to turn the water to ink black color. 

Hence I think it follows, from the evidence adduced, 
that the location of the spot where the famous Harrison- 
and Tecumseh council was held, and the character of the 
grove have been clearly and fully demonstrated. 


Tlie <tl<;l iiiaiisioii, under the light of truth, will lose none 
of its beauties and fascinations by dispelling- from it the 
nebulie of gauzy fables, thrown antund it by fancy-weav'- 
ing. peripatetic corres])< indents. It is a historical relic 
which has an intrinsic value of its own^ and needs no 
veneering or furbishing to make it ever dear to those who 
cherish memories of the fading past. As a matter of his- 
tory, pertinent in this connection, and a result of this fa- 
mous council which cidminated in the battle of Tippecanoe 
and the final overthrow of the Prophet's and Tecumseh's 
power in Indiana Territory, it would l)e well to state the 
main point of the controversy which led up to it. Some 
time previous the Government had made treaties and pur- 
chased lands from some of the Indian tribes. Tecumseh 
claimed that a confederacy existed, of the varioiis tribes, 
and that neither one could alienate its lamls without the 
consent of the whole. Governor Harrison dissented from 
the contentions of the chief, and hence a peaceful under- 
standing was impossible. So at the conclusion of the second 
council Tecumseh and ahout twenty braves started south 
in their canoes down the i'i\-cr. Before coming to Vincennes 
it is said he had exacted a promise from his brother, the 
Prophet, that he would not engage in a war with the whites 
in his absence. Harrison, suspecting that Tecumseh's trip 
south boded evil (and it so turned out that his mission was 
afterward learned to be to form alliances with the tribes 
along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers), deter-mined, after 
considering the outcome of the council, and the preceding 
episode, when his ambassador to Prophet town barely es- 
ca])ed assassination, to jircpare for a visit to the Prophet 
and secure an amicable or an enforced peace, if needs be, 



by battle. Before starting to the Tippecanoe village, he re- 
ceived accessions to his little army from Kentucky, aug- 
menting it to about seven hundred efficient men. Being 
thus prepared to cope with any hostile force he would likely 
encounter, he left for the Tippecanoe village about Octo- 
ber 1, stopping at Terre Haute to build a fort (naming it 
Fort Harrison), after which he proceeded north on his 
mission, arriving at the mouth of Vermillion creek October 
31, where he built a block-house for the reception and pro- 
tection of stores. 

On the night of JSTovember 6 he arrived in tlie vicinity 
of the village, still maintaining a friendly demeanor to- 
ward the Indians, and, meeting the Prophet's ambassadors, 
assured them of his peaceful intentions, and a council was 
agreed on, to be held the next day. That night passed off 
quietly until 4 o'clock a. ni. (if the Ttli, when his forces were 
attacked without warning, and the battle of Tippecanoe 
was fought, against odds (the Indians numbering eight 
hundred and on their chosen ground), and won, breaking 
tlie power forever of the Indians in this part of the West, 
and bringing peace to the long suffering settlers. Tecum- 
seh, returning from the South after the battle, was so cha- 
grined that he went N^orth and joined the English, and 
was slain in the battle of River Kaisin. 

The vicissitudes through which the old mansion has 
passed, during the j_,ast seventy-five years, have been many 
and varied. After the Harrisons left it, the building was 
used as a dwelling, as a school house, warehouse for storing 
grain, and for a hotel, and much of the time it remained 
unoccupied, and was a great resorting place for imagina- 
tive, idle youths, fond of adventure, who, amid the dark 


labyrinthian cellars, conjured up spooks and subterraneous 
passages, upon which they could dilate upon in rehearsals 
to their less favored but credulous friends. 

The lands on which the Harrison residence was built 
comprised lots JSTo. 1, 2, 3 and 4 in upper prairie survey, 
which embraced all of the river front, from Hickman to 
Hart street, running back to the Highland foot-hills, and 
contained 280 acres. The ground on which the house 
stands, and that constituting originally the yard, garden 
and outlots, embraced all of that which is bounded by the 
river on the west, Scott street on the south, by Park on the 
east and by what is nov' called Harrison street on the north, 
this latter street being known originally as Perry. In Sep- 
tember, 1815, the plat of Harrison's addition was made 
and legalized by an act of the Legislature on January 3, 
1817. This plat embraced that portion of the land reaching 
from the river to Seventh street, then called Trotier street. 
The remaining portions of this land is embraced in Coch- 
ran's, ]\lalott's and Shepard's additions to the city of Vin- 

On June 26, 1821, Governor W. H. Harrison deeded 
the property to his son, John Cleaves Symes Harrison. 
From his estate it passed into the possession of David C. 
Armstrong. He sold it to James Ewing, and he to W. E. 
Pidgeon. Elavius Pidgeon inherited and sold it to the 
present o^vner, Mr. Edward Shepard, who has expended 
much time and money in making repairs and trying to 
restore to the old mansion some of its former beauty and 
attractiveness, for which all lovers of historic places and 
memories of pioneer days should be truly thankful. We 
hope its pristine glory may be regained and it continue to 
be an interesting relic in our city for ages to come. 

Chapter XIII. 


HAVING often been asked about the population of 
tlie town, especially in its early existence, tlie 
author subjoins the following, believing it sub- 
stantially sets forth the facts: 

The first census recorded was taken in 1Y69. 

1769. Wlien it was 69 

1777. Lieutenant-Governor Edward Abbot's report 

gives 250 

1800. The nest report was by United States Govern- 
ment: Males, 373; females, 338; slaves, 8; 
total 714 

1810. Males, 336; females, 329; slaves, 5; total 670 

The census in the next three decades gives the town and 
county together, the town being estimated at one-fifth of 
the total population. 

1820. Wliole county.. 5,315. Town estimated at. . 1,029. 

1830. Wliole county.. 6,557. Town estimated at. . 1,311. 

1840. Wliole county.. 10, 657. Town estimated at. . 2,131. 

1850. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 2,070. 

1860. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 3,960. 

1870. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 5,438. 

1880. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 7,680. 

1890. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 8,850. 

1900. Vincennes population, separately taken, was 10,249. 

It will be observed that the increase of the population 
for the four last decades has advanced with increasing 



impetus, and the increase during 1901 and 1902 will be 
one hundred per cent, greater than the late preceding years, 
and the outlook is promising for a greater increase in the 
immediate future. Xot a house is for rent, buildings are 
rapidly going up, and the population, estimated on the 
school enumeration, now exceeds 12,000. 


History tells us that a theatre was built here about the 
year 1806, on the corner of Broadway and Water streets, 
by John Rice Jones, an attorney, official and politician. 
It was first occupied in 1807, when the play was "Drown- 
ing Men Catch at Straws."* A singular coincidence hap- 
pened on the evening of the opening, in the drctwning 
of a citizen, Robert M. Douglas. 

That a theatre should be started in this place in the long, 
lone' as'o davs, environed bv the wilderness of the Xorth- 
west, far away from civilization, need not be wondered at, 
since all the world's a stage, as some one has said, and in 
every day life people are but the actors. If this phrase 
were transposed to read, 'Tn all the world there is a stage," 
the aphorism would be equally true ; as in savage and 
heathen lands, people may be found acting the various 
roles, from serio-comic to veritable tragic, — from the In- 
dian war-dance to the refined tragedies and comedies of 
modern times. Human nature is the same with all peoples 
and in all climes, and the craving for recreation, novelty 
and variety seems innate in the Innnan creature. "A little 
nonsense now and then is relished bv the best of men ;" "All 

■ History of Knox County, p. 214. 


work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," and "Variety is 
the spice of life/' are axioms voiced all along upon the 
waves of expressed thought. Excessive labor and serious, 
prolonged study are inimical to man's terrestrial happi- 
ness. The bow, long over-bent, loses its elasticity, and 
ceases to respond to the light touch of the skilled archer. 
After diving into serious problems of everyday life, sub- 
jects of lighter vein bring rest to the mind and zest to the 
passing hours. 

It seems that the playwrights of the olden days did not 
seize upon the episode of the raising of the first flag over 
Sackville as one suitable to the times, and it was left for 
others to exploit the reported act, in the play of "Alice of 
Old Vincennes." 

The lighter vaudeville plays were in vogue in rural dis- 
tricts in those early days. 

Evolution has wrought some changes in the character of 
them, but light comedy roles will continue to be favor- 
ites with the masses as long as a good, hearty laugh is en- 

It is a singular fact that the present McJimsey's 
(Green's) Theatre should occupy an adjoining lot to the 
first one, built nearly a century ago. 


One of the oldest and most important institutions of the 
city sixty years ago was the ferry. Originally the canoe 
was the chief mode by which the citizens crossed the Wa- 
bash, but, very early in the nineteenth century, a way was 
devised far superior to the canoe or pirouge, in ease, celer- 
ity, safety and accommodation, as horses, carriages and 


stock of all kinds could be transported by a boat propelled 
bv self-adjusting apparatus, which created a water power. 
The first license for a ferry was granted to Colonel Francis 
Vigo, February 16, 1805, "from his land on the north- 
west side of the Wabash river and opposite to the town of 
Vincennes, across the said river."* There were two ferries 
three-quarters of a century ago^ — one at the foot of Main 
street and the other at the foot of Broadway street. These 
boats were probably forty feet in length and ten feet wide ; 
the sides were of single pieces of broad, thick timbers, 
shaped at the ends like a canoe, with flat bottom of thick 
planks. The machinery of the motive power was simple, 
but not very easily described. A buoy was anchored a hun- 
dred or more feet above the track of the boat, in the middle 
of the stream, to which a stovit wire cable was attached, 
running from the center of the boat ; another wire was at- 
tached to the one up stream, one end being unattached, 
reaching to the boat, which could be changed to either end. 
A broad movable plank was connected at each end, on the 
upper side, which could be lowered below the boat, or raised 
to the surface of the water, at will, by a lever. By heading 
one end of the boat up stream, and shortening the loose 
reversible wire, keeping it taut, and lowering the plank at 
the other end, the current of the stream gave impetus to 
the boat and carried it silently and swiftly to the opposite 
shore. The return trip was made as quickly by a reversal 
of the appliances. 

Esquire James Gibson kept the lower ferry and Esquire 
Thomas Bailey ran the Broadway street ferry. The latter 
lived on the opposite side of the river, just below the B. 

'•'Indiana Territorial Journal, p. 126. 


& O. S, W. railway bridge, opposite Hart street, in a brick 
house. Tradition tells of an amusing episode, with a tragic 
side, connected with the latter ferryman. Being a widower, 
Bailey took it into his head to get himself a second better 

In those days charivaris were common following wed- 
dings with widowers, and especially so with those who mar- 
ried again before the conventional time had elapsed after 
the death of their consorts. If the groom in this case had 
violated custom it is not known, but if he had, he perhaps 
had heard of that precedent set by Father Whitaker, a 
rather eccentric and celebrated Methodist circuit rider, 
which had occurred about this time in Kentucky. 

Father Wliitaker was blessed with a good-sized family 
of small children, and, having had the misfortune of losing 
his helpmeet, and his labor of circuit rider taking him 
from home a great deal of his time, when his little family 
were left without protection or help, he concluded it was 
his duty to take unto himself a "better half" who could 
look after their wants in his absence, remembering, no 
doubt, the divine injunction, '"He who will not provide for 
his household is worse than an infidel." So in a very short 
time after the demise of Mrs. W. he found a good Samari- 
tan woman who was willing to share his troubles and joys 
with him, and they were married. Some of the sisters and 
brothers of the church Avere shocked at the hastiness of the 
preacher, and, when Conference next met, he was cited to 
appear and show cause for his unseemly behavior, which 
was calculated to bring scandal on his church. When ar- 
raigned by the prosecutor for his action, Brother Whitaker 
pleaded, first, that he was compelled to be absent from his 


helpless children while serving his church much of the 
time, who needed care; second, that he was too poor to 
hire a housekeeper, and, lastly, that "Sookev Honey" was 
just as dead in three weeks as she would be in three years. 

These arguments appealed with such force that convic- 
tion was out of the question, and the brother was g-iven a 
clean bill of acquittal. 

So, on the eventful evening, while the bridal party was 
at the height of its enjoyment, some French boys crossed 
over to the house to give the groom and bride the usual 
charivari. Becoming too annoying, the gTOom introduced 
his old fowling piece and fired into the midst of the revel- 
ers. Although none were seriously injured by the charge, 
the merrymakers became incensed, recrossed the river and 
procured an old smooth-bore cannon, loaded with powder 
and ball, and, placing it in position, blazed away at the 
house of the groom. A truce was then declared, a protocol 
signed, and the white-winged dove of peace again hovered 
over the crystal waters of the Wabash, the dance was 
resumed, and the bridal festivities proceeded without fur- 
ther disturbance. 


The memor)' of the oldest inhabitant, nor even tra- 
dition, runneth back to the time when the old "French 
cart," the primitive mode of conveyance, first made its ad- 
vent in Vincennes. It was unique in its character and ap- 
pearance, and its model may have been one of the relics 
saved from I^oah's ark, which rested on Ararat at the sub- 
sidence of the flood. This cart was the first mode of con- 
veyance introduced to lessen the burthens of the French 
pioneers, soon after the first settlement of the village, in 


1732. The present two-wheeled cart and old gig have some 
resemblance to its size, shape and capacity, save that its 
body was of gTcater size, and it was uncovered and un- 
seated. It seems to have been designed by its patentee, if 
its originator could be so called, to act as a family carriage, 
as well as a truck and wood carrier. When used as a car- 
riage, chairs and stools were set in it for the occupants, 
which could be removed when a load of corn or wood was 
to be hauled. Its composition was entirely of wood, in- 
cluding wheels, body and shafts, and the Canadian pony, 
its motor power, was rigged with a bridle and harness of 
ropes. In reference to this old mode of conveyance. Judge 
Law, in his article describing worshippers coming from 
church, has this to say : "On 'fast' days might be seen the 
patriarch of his flock, with blanket capot, a blue cotton 
handkerchief around his head, with a pipe in his mouth, 
and with his family seated in chairs, in his untired cart, 
w^hich had never known the use of iron, drawn by a Cana- 
dian pony, and conveying his generation, as his fathers be- 
fore him had done in theirs," etc. 

The use of this cart and its equipment obtained, with 
slight alteration, up to the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, and its appearance is embalmed in the writer's first 
recollections of the Vincennes of fifty years ago. Just when 
it made its first appearance and its final exit is not exactly 
known, but, like many other things and customs, it gave 
way in the evolution of time, to something better and more 
in accordance with the thought and genius of the age. The 
old ox cart followed "the one-horse shay" ; next, the light 
two-horse wagon, and that by the ponderous six-horse 
wagon, with top ribbed and covered, not very unlike a 
river schooner. These wagons were the carriers of goods 


from the mercantile depots, which obtained until the mid- 
dle of the past century, when they gave Avay to the iron 
horse and cars. And now steam seems to be gradually giv- 
ing way to the mightier motor power, electricity. As to the 
advance in the construction of wheeled conveyances, in- 
cluding the newcomer, the automobile, the writer would 
say that half a century ago there were only two or three 
carriages, and not exceeding half a dozen buggies in the 
town, horseback and wagons being the almost universal 
mode of land conveyance. jSTow every family has its car- 
riage or buggy, and even the old French patriarch drives 
to the city from his country seat in his landau behind a 
span of blooded thoroughbreds. 


Though not a President of the United States, Jefferson 
Davis was elected President of one portion of our country, 
which was called for a while "The Southern Confederacy," 
and was quite an able and notable man. In early life he 
was a Lieutenant in the American Army, and while in the 
service of his country tradition says he was stationed at 
Post Vincennes, about the time Captain Zachary Taylor, of 
the United States Army, was, in the line of his duty, occu- 
pying this place. Many years ago a legend obtained cur- 
rency here to the effect that Captain Taylor had a charming 
young daughter. Miss Sarah, who captivated the young 
Lieutenant with her charms, and, while the courtship was 
going on, they frequently took rides to the country beyond 
the high lands. About this time Mr. Jeremiah Donovan, 
a worthy and intelligent young gentleman who lived here, 
had a sweetheart in the same neighborhood, by the name of 


Wyant, and, while out sparking, would often see liis friend 
Davis and Miss Taylor sitting on a large boulder lying 
in the woods, resting after their jaunt hither; and it seemed 
to be a favorite tryst ing place, where the passing winds 
wafted the aroma of the clover around and the merry 
songsters poured forth their love songs to their mates in 
the green swaying branches just above their heads. But 
those halcyon days were not to last always, and ere the 
climax was reached, by love's fruition. Captain Taylor 
and family became domiciled at anotlier post. After their 
departure, Donovan, more fortunate than Davis, wooed and 
won his fair country maiden, and soon became a benedict. 
Love ran not so smoothly with the other couple, as the 
Lieutenant's aspirations met with opposition from the 
young lady's father, and they only succeeded in realizing 
the joys of love's young dream years afterward, by an 
elopement. Davis soon left the army and drifted into poli- 
tics, and subsequently became the chief factor in the revolt 
of the Southern States, and was chosen their President. 

Many years before Mr. Donovan died (in memory of his 
old friend Davis, and the episodes on the boulder, and his 
admiration of him and his sweetheart. Miss Taylor, and 
perhaps his own visits to that trysting spot) he had it re- 
moved to his residence in the city, and placed it in the 
front yard, on the corner of Sixth and Broadway streets. 
After his death the property was purchased by Doctor John 
H. Rabb, President of the First l^ational Bank, who let 
it remain there perhaps on account of the romantic associa- 
tion with it, and it still lies today on the same spot, after 
the lapse of more than half a century. 

It has been said that this legend has no foundation in 
fact; that the lady in question was too young to many at 


t]:e time her father's alleged residence was here. But what 
has this problem to do with the romance ? It is said Davis 
was once stationed here, and Miss Sarah (not Jessie, as 
some have it) Taylor may have visited here subsequently 
to the reported time her father occupied this post ; and the 
episode may have occurred just as related by Mr. Donovan, 
and the fact that the young lady and the Lieutenant did 
have a courtship, and did consummate the same by an 
elopement, gives color to the truth of the legend. And the 
well-established fact that the narrator of this romance did 
woo, win and marry Miss Wyant at the country farm al- 
luded to ; did subsequently bring his bride to the city, and, 
years aftenvard, transfer the old trysting stone to his front 
yard, also gives color to the probability of the truth of the 
foundation of the legend. Xow, let me ask what object ]\Ir. 
Donovan had in going to the trouble and expense of remov- 
ing an unprepossessing-looking, unshapely boulder to his 
front yard, if some romance or some pleasing reminiscence 
was not connected with it which he wished to pei*petuate ? 

The writer thinks tbe romance stands on a better founda- 
tion than one-half of the fal)les that have been palmed off 
here on the people the past few years as veritable history. 

Many passers-by, on viewing the rude monumental stone 
of i*S^ature's handiwork, may query as to the reason why 
that ugly rock is kept there. If it could only speak it would 
vindicate its right of presence, with the "old, ohl story," 
rehearsed to the willing ears of some who have long ago 
gone to dreamland. 

Nature coixld oft a tale unfold 

Of mem'ries past and things to be, 

If we had vision, to behold, 

And hands to use her mystic key. 



In writing his superb romance, Maurice Thompson had 
to have a heroine worthy of the thrilling episodes occurring 
in the gi'eat I^orthwest during the Revolution, and no fault 
can be found with him if she were obtained from the realms 
of fancy, if the impossible is not too gi-eatly trenched upon. 
Where fiction takes upon itself the habiliments of reality, 
criticism is impotent of harm, when success is the goal 
aimed at. In cogitating over the threads of romance out 
of which the woof and warp of the story of "Alice of Old 
Vincennes" was to be constructed, Maurice Thompson 
little dreamed that the wiseacres of this town would at- 
tempt to materialize Alice Roussilon, and identify her with 
a dashing Creole of a past age ; nevertheless, such has been 
attempted, and with some claims of success, for a while; 
but an image-breaker came along and dashed our fondest 
hopes. We were hopeful when we read the following seem- 
ingly authentic piece of information pertaining to ancient 
history in the Yincennes Commercial, being copied from 
the Terre Haute Express, which last paper derived its in- 
formation from a Logansport paper. Here it is, verbatim : 

"The only man living today who can explain the charac- 
ters in the book, 'Alice of Old Vincennes,' lives here, in the 
person of Charles B. Laselle, Judge of the Probate Court 
and dean of the Logansport bar. His grandfather was 
the foster-father of 'Alice,' whose real name was Mary 
Shannon, daughter of William Shannon, Captain of a com- 
pany in George Clark's regiment. Mr. Laselle was born in 
Vincennes, over eighty years ago, and knew 'Alice' well; 
her son, who was named William Shannon, was a playmate 


of Mr. Laselle. The Shannons lived on the Avest side of 
the river at Vincennes, and, dnring an Indian raid, all the 
members thereof, except 'Alice,' were massacred. In this 
Mr. La Salle explains why the girl was not killed, a 
point which the author of the book, Maurice Thompson, 
fails even to attempt. The old man says that the girl, while 
running from the savages, cried, 'Mon Dieu ! mon Dieu !' 
and the Indians, believing that she was of French descent, 
allowed her to live. She found a boat ready to cross the 
river, was taken aboard, and afterward cared for by the 
residents of the town. Her foster-father, known as Gaspard 
Roussilon in the novel, was no other than Francis Bus- 
seron, the grandfather of Mr. Laselle." 

In the foregoing extract, it will be obsen^ed, the state- 
ment is made that Mary Shannon (Alice Roussilon) was 
the only one of the family who escaped in the massacre of 
Captain William Shannon's family, and that she did so by 
crying as she ran, '"Mon Dieu ! mon Dieu !" and that the 
Indians, understanding the expression, and, being friendly 
toward the French, let her escape across the river. Follow- 
ing this publication, Mr. H. A. Foulks, our esteemed fel- 
low-citizen (whose wife is the daughter of the late A. B. 
McKee, whose grandmother, Sarah Shannon, was a sister 
of Mary Shannon, the alleged Alice Roussilon), drew the 
old Vigo Bible in contradiction, and in which are regis- 
tered two other sisters, one of whom, Elizabeth Shannon, 
married Colonel Francis Vigo. This old record, in fact, 
shows that there were six children, five Shannon girls and 
a son, named William Shannon. Elizabeth was born March 
23, 1770, Sarah in 1775, and Mary (Alice Roussilon) in 
1777. So it appears that the old Vigo Bible record destroys 


the identity of Mary Shannon with Thompson's heroine. 
While this is so, the author had some foundation for some 
of the characters introduced in his book. At the time of 
the capture of Vincennes by Clark there was a Frenchman 
here who was Mayor, or Chief Civil Officer of the old to^vn, 
by the name of Francoise Busseron, after whom a street in 
the city and a township in the county have been named, 
and who was commissioned a Captain in the militia by 
Clark, before or just after the capture of the town. The 
positions he held and the name are so much like that of 
Gaspard Roussilon that it might have been taken by 
Thompson as the basis of the latter character. Another 
item in the make-up of the plot is the significant one that 
Mary Shannon (Alice) was an orphan child and an 
adopted daughter of Captain Busseron. The drawing of 
the record on Mary Shannon bars her from actual partici- 
pation in the flag-raising over Fort Sackville, as she was 
just two years old on that memorable occasion. But I 
doubt not at that particular time she was cooing "Yankee 
Doodle" in her little cradle and keeping time with her 
chubby feet to the music of the fife and drum. So, if 
she did not perform all the heroic and patriotic acts 
attributed to her, it was no fault of hers. Father Time 
had just delayed her birth a few years too long for that 
episode. As to Mary Shannon, the reputed Alice, the au- 
thor (Thompson) does not claim great beauty for her, 
when she was "sweet sixteen," but the reason for that was 
doubtless owing to a traditional view handed down by a 
discarded lover, or one whose aesthetic taste could not 
appreciate the highest types of beauty. A gentleman of 
discernment, yet living, who knew Alice when he was a 


bov, says, in relation to this subject: "Judging from her 
appearance in middle age, she must have been a beautiful 
girl. The most prominent features of her character were 
that she was very independent and kindly. She was, in 
fact, such a woman that the men would have called her 'a 
grand old lady,' and the women, ^a sweet old lady.' " The 
anachronism committed by the author in making out the 
case of Alice was justifiable, as life is often prosy without 
the spice of romance added to it to give it zest. It must be 
taken for granted that she was all the poet's fancy painted 
her, in the portraiture given of her physique and character. 
She was a dashing beauty, an expert with a foil, a crack 
shot with a pistol or rifle, and a full match with Cupid in 
wielding his bow and arrow, in his skirmishing raids for 
trophies of the genus homo. 




In the village, Clie-pe-ko-ke, 

111 the times long past and gone, 
Nestled on the Ouabache river, 

Lived brave Alice Roiissiloii. 
Not a flower in valley blooming, 

Not a songbird in the glens 
Was so fair and sweet as Alice, 

Pretty maid of Old Vincennes. 


Oft she winged the grouse and partridge. 

As from covey up they flew; 
Or, disporting on the water, 

Oft she sculled her bark canoe. 
And by arrow, swiftly speeding, 

As to mark it straightly wends. 
Doe and fawn were often trophies 

Alice bagged, near Old Vincennes. 


Ere the battle's smoke o'er Sackville 

By the winds were rolled away, 
Lithely sped the maid, unhindered, 

Witli her flag to crown the fray ; 
Then, to mast rope tightly fastened. 

Up Old Glory high ascends. 
Waving back a kiss to Alice, 

Heroine of Old Vincennes. 


Meni'ry, often, us will carry 

On the wings of busy thought 
Back to early years, when Freedom 

'Gainst its foes in triumpli fought; 
Not a spot should now be dearer 

To the hearts of Freedom's friends 
Than the village, Ohe-pe-ko-ke, 

Home of Alice — Old Vincennes !